Police stop cars at a checkpoint during the 2020 outbreak (Brendon O’Hagan/Bloomberg)
Police stop cars at a checkpoint during the 2020 outbreak (Brendon O’Hagan/Bloomberg)

The BulletinNovember 4, 2021

Government considers travel slots to leave Auckland

Police stop cars at a checkpoint during the 2020 outbreak (Brendon O’Hagan/Bloomberg)
Police stop cars at a checkpoint during the 2020 outbreak (Brendon O’Hagan/Bloomberg)

The prime minister said a hard border will remain around Auckland this summer and only the fully-vaccinated with a negative Covid-19 test will be allowed to travel, Justin Giovannetti writes in The Bulletin.

Aucklanders will face restrictions over a classic Kiwi summer. The prime minister confirmed that the hard border around Auckland will remain over the summer, with only fully-vaccinated residents allowed to travel outside the city. She made the revelation on ZM radio yesterday and according to the NZ Herald, the double jabbed will also need to show a negative Covid-19 test before leaving Auckland on holiday. After earlier promising a “classic Kiwi summer,” Jacinda Ardern said the internal border will be necessary while other parts of the country work to increase their vaccination rates. New Zealand doesn’t have much experience with internal borders on the country’s busiest motorways, so the government is now trying to figure out how to deal with expected traffic.

There could be a system to provide travellers with time slots. Speaking to RNZ in the evening, Covid-19 response minister Chris Hipkins said his office is working through options, but he offered up only one: “So it might be that people are allocated a time they can travel”. Asked if it would be run like the country’s border facilities, he said no, adding over a garbled connection that police will be able to “expand capacity faster” on the land border than at MIQ. It’s unclear how slots would be allocated or how they would work, but travellers would need to show their vaccination passports and negative Covid-19 tests at checkpoints on the motorway.

“They should expect that it will be a reasonably time-consuming process if they are travelling by land,” said Hipkins, but he added that it would be better than the alternative: “We don’t want to end up with people spending days sitting in their cars and have all of Auckland grind to a halt”.

The political backlash to even considering the option was immediate. Act leader David Seymour said that the government has completely lost the plot if it expects to provide people with time slots to clear border checkpoints. “The queues and pressure on police time are unworkable and the suggestion the government might allocate times for people to move simply brings the absurdity into sharp relief,” he said.

National leader Judith Collins was succinct, tweeting: “Not on my watch.” Then she retweeted a picture of checkpoint Charlie on the Berlin Wall.

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Mad Chapman, Editor
The Spinoff has covered the news that matters in 2021, most recently the delta outbreak. Help us continue this coverage, and so much more, by supporting The Spinoff Members.Madeleine Chapman, EditorJoin Members

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