NZ’s border systems were “rigorous” (until two infected women exposed their flaws) – now they are being made “robust”

Latest from the Beehive

Housing Minister Megan Woods has vowed  “robust systems” will be put in place to ensure the managed isolation and quarantine of returning New Zealanders, RNZ reports. And there will be consequences for people who break those rules.

Robust systems will be put in place?  But none other than the PM had led us to believe we already had them.

Correction.  She led us to believe the systems were rigorous.

On April 19, discussing what was being considered by the government before a decision was made next day on whether to extend the level 4 lockdown, Jacinda Ardern said New Zealand’s quarantine and border measures were thought to be “absolutely” sufficient to move into level 3.

“They’re very, very rigorous. We have currently 1601 individuals who are in facilities managed by the government,” she said.

Woods now was appearing at a media briefing and promising a robust  system after the PM gave her Ministerial responsibility for Managed Isolation and Quarantine and appointed Air Commodore Darryn Webb as Head of Managed Isolation and Quarantine.

The politically embarrassing reason for those appointments was the exposure of serious weaknesses which made the system somewhat less than rigorous. 

Among  the failures, two women were able to leave managed isolation at an Auckland hotel on compassionate grounds, without having a Covid-19 test.

The two women had since tested positive for Covid-19, resulting in all compassionate exemptions being suspended.

At the briefing yesterday Woods said:

“We must be vigilant in preserving the status we have got to as one of only a handful of countries among hundreds to the point we have with zero community transmission.”

She said there would always be people who will look to break the rules.

“But what I will guarantee is that we will have robust systems in place and there will be consequences for people who break those rules.”

Consequences for returnees breaking rules could include a $4000 fine or six-month prison sentence.

In her new role, Woods issued a media release earlier in the day to assure us the government has moved to address issues that have emerged this week with managed isolation and quarantine facilities.

“We are determined to ensure that this critical line of defence against COVID-19 is robust and meets the expectations of New Zealanders; that every action we took as a collective five million to stamp out the virus, applies in these facilities,” Megan Woods said.

“We have come too far to lose the precious situation we are in; one of the few countries in the world without community spread of COVID-19 and a relatively open economy and society.

Among the measures instigated by Air Commodore Webb since his appointment –

  • Doubling the number of New Zealand Defence Forces staff in managed isolation facilities from the current 36 to 72.
  • Initiating an urgent end-to-end audit of facility protocols and their application, supported by Senior Department of Corrections and NZ Police officials.
  • Air Commodore Webb will assume personal oversight of exit testing, ensuring no one leaves a facility without a negative COVID-19 test
  • Appointment of Defence Force leads in each facility who will report directly to Air Commodore Webb. Clear expectations on their accountability and responsibilities have been relayed to them.
  • Immediate suspension of private functions in managed isolation facilities.
  • 105 hotline for public notifications and concerns. This is an existing hotline operated by the All-of-Government COVID-19 team.

Perhaps in the spirit of kindness that flows from the Beehive nowadays, no mention of penalties was made in the media statement.

The government does have provisions to deal with transgressors, however.

According to RNZ, Woods said here would always be people who will look to break the rules.

“But what I will guarantee is that we will have robust systems in place and there will be consequences for people who break those rules.”

Consequences for returnees breaking rules could include a $4000 fine or six-month prison sentence.

“We cannot give up our privileged position,” said Woods.

“We are determined to make this work because the alternative is unthinkable.”

The management of people arriving at the border has cost the government $81 million so far.

That’s a lot of money to spend on a sieve when you needed – and thought you were buying – a top-quality bucket.

Here’s what emerged from the Beehive since last we reported:

Release

19 JUNE 2020

Next steps for managed isolation and quarantine facilities

The Government has moved to address issues that have emerged this week with managed isolation and quarantine facilities.

Hon Dr Megan Woods

Housing

Release

19 JUNE 2020

Government Invests $399,305 in Racecourse Safety

In the interests of public safety and animal welfare Racing Minister Rt Hon Winston Peters announced today that the Government has invested $399,305 in 18 projects to improve safety at racecourses.

Rt Hon Winston Peters

Deputy Prime Minister

Foreign Affairs

Release

19 JUNE 2020

Shooting in Massey

The Prime Minister and Minister of Police have issued the following statement on the shooting in Massey this morning.

Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern Hon Stuart Nash

Prime Minister

Police

Release

19 JUNE 2020

Employment Court judge appointed

Auckland barrister and solicitor Kathryn Beck has been appointed as a Judge of the Employment Court to be based in Auckland, Attorney-General David Parker announced today.

Hon David Parker

Attorney-General

Release

19 JUNE 2020

Far North iwi building water storage

Construction is to start on a water storage development that will help a Far North iwi move their land to higher value horticulture, Regional Economic Development Minist

Hon Shane Jones

Regional Economic Development

Release

19 JUNE 2020

New roles to help health and healthy relationship teaching

New frontline support for high quality teaching that promotes the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people was announced by Associate Minister of Education Tracey Martin today.

Hon Tracey Martin

Education

Release

19 JUNE 2020

Financial boost for southern firms

Eleven Southland and Otago engineering and manufacturing firms will receive up to $2.2 million from the Provincial Growth Fund to support economic growth and create new high-skilled jobs, Regio

Hon Shane Jones

Regional Economic Development

 

5 thoughts on “NZ’s border systems were “rigorous” (until two infected women exposed their flaws) – now they are being made “robust”

  1. On behalf of all the 5 million who have paid a very high price to achieve a covid free NZ..
    Those person’s responsible for the latest isolation breakdown disaster and all the ones leading up to it ,
    Every single person complicit in these stuff ups deserves a thorough arse kicking and reaming, and on completion of said discipline.
    Should then be presented with the order of the DCM.
    DONT COME MONDAY.!!
    your services are no longer required ..
    Also to Jacinda and company
    Please stop filling us with part truth’s your credibility is going down the toilet each time another falsehood or part truth is exposed…

    Liked by 1 person

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