The border is NZ’s first defence against Covid-19 – but the rules will be relaxed to ensure our crops are harvested

Having reminded Parliament that New Zealanders in October elected a majority Government for the first time under our Mixed Member Proportional electoral system, and that the Government enjoys the confidence of a clear majority of members in the House of Representatives, the Speech from the Throne set out the policy programme we can expect to be implemented.

The first objective is to keep New Zealanders safe from COVID and:

“The first layer of defence is our border.  With COVID cases increasing around the world, in a growing number of countries, the risk of travelers arriving at the border with COVID increases.  The Government will continue to strengthen border protections.  Testing, infection control procedures, and professional and quality staffing will remain cornerstones of the response.”

But the speech also signalled the Government’s intention to

“ … create opportunities for businesses to access the skills they need.  The Government will ensure that up to 10 percent of places in our managed isolation facilities are used by people granted exceptions to enter New Zealand to contribute to accelerating our recovery.”

Before the day was done, exemptions were announced to enable 2000 more workers under the “recognised seasonal employers” scheme (RSE)  to enter New Zealand from January next year. Continue reading “The border is NZ’s first defence against Covid-19 – but the rules will be relaxed to ensure our crops are harvested”