“Incompetent bureaucracy and a failure of leadership from the Minister means that we have to wait another two months before we can open up to the rest of the world,” says ACT’s Immigration spokesperson Dr James McDowall.
“The Government closed our borders because of public health, now they won’t open them because of processing delays. Critically, today’s expected announcement has been misrepresented. The border won’t be open from July, it will be open for applications.
“With Immigration New Zealand’s processing times, who knows when the border will actually be open?
“Immigration New Zealand has had two years with closed borders. Any dynamic organisation, with good governance from its Minister would have used that time to clear its backlog and upgrade its systems. Unfortunately, after two years of COVID, the backlogs are still there and the clunky systems are still there.
“Professor Michael Baker this morning said bringing the full border reopening forward to July would have minimal impact on case numbers or preventing new variants, by the same logic there’s no public health rationale to not open the borders fully now.
“The Government will try its best to spin out of this with it’s weird mix of strained and soothing tones. Nothing will be the Government’s fault if we buy their line. But the reality is this, The border has been shut for two years and Immigration New Zealand is further behind than ever. It is total incompetence and a failure of leadership.
“The Minister of Immigration should be explaining how on earth he expects to stay in the job and what his plan is to fix the situation so visas can be issues sooner.
“ACT says we truly need to move on from COVID fear and really reconnect with the rest of the world.”