Today: Saturday, 18 September 2021 year

New Zealand opens travel bubble to Pacific workers

New Zealand opens travel bubble to Pacific workers

New Zealand prime minister has announced a new -one-way- travel policy for Pacific workers. To expand the potential workforce available for those experiencing labour shortages, certain nations will be allowed into NZ without undergoing two weeks in quarantine.

PM Jacinda Ardern said Monday that the expansion of the travel bubble will be restricted to workers from Tonga, Samoa and Vanuatu employed in the horticulture and viticulture industries where there are not enough New Zealand-based workers. Amid the pandemic, the NZ agriculture sector is experiencing challenges but at the same time, the closed border has been critical to keeping COVID-19 pathogen out.

The workforces from the Pacific nations will help NZ to keep its economy running, Nikkei Asia reported.

“We’ve heard the call from primary sectors and others to bring in additional workers in a safe way and we think that is now possible,” Ardern said.

Meantime, New Zealand has recorded just 26 COVID-19 deaths in a population of five million, opened a trans-Tasman travel bubble with Australia in April.

While the MPs hailed PM’s decision as a major milestone in restarting the global travel industry, opposition leader Judith Collins said the decision to open up a travel bubble was a welcome move but did not go far enough.

“The question now is, if we can bring in (seasonal) workers without them having to undergo quarantine once they enter New Zealand, why can’t we prioritize other people from these three countries for quarantine-free travel?” Collins warned.