The bottleneck for almost everything – only 250 people a day can enter NZ

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In an interview with the Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway on Radio NZ last week it became clear that the entire country is now hostage to a bottleneck in the managed isolation/quarantine system that means only 250 people a day can be allowed into New Zealand.
He explained that currently we are able to manage (laugh, laugh) 3000 people in quarantine or managed isolation. That means that New Zealand can only allow 250 people a day to enter.
There are many terrible humanitarian stories of people being stopped from returning to New Zealand who have a right to be here because of their visa status.
But if the system will only allow 250 a day it means only New Zealand citizens and permanent residents were being allowed in.
Of course, there are also exemptions being given to groups of workers who are deemed to have a significant economic benefit by their admission such as the Avatar film crew.
The next group to be allowed in are partners and children of residents who don’t have PR already. After this group the Minister said he was looking at allowing back those without PR who are “normally resident” in NZ.  This group is estimated by Immigration NZ to be around 10,000.
But at the current rate of admission, and with priority being given to returning residents, that could take years. New Zealand needs to radically increase the number of people it is able to admit and put into managed quarantine or managed isolation.
Only after we have brought back those people “normally resident” in New Zealand can we consider opening up the tertiary education sector to private students.
It is good that the government has recognised that this group of ordinarily resident New Zealanders should be admitted. These are people who have made their lives here over a decade or more renewing visa after visa and may even have children born here. This group in New Zealand should also be fast-tracked for residency if they want it.
I am very concerned that we have gone to Level 1 with no real system of contact tracing in place and having mass gatherings with no social distancing involved. I am very concerned that New Zealand seems to be the only country in the world that does not encourage the wearing of masks on public transport at least.
The entire health system had been weakened over decades to the point that as a country we were lucky to have dodged the bullet of widespread community transmission. We did not even have a decent supply of proper protective gear for an emergency that everyone knew would happen one day.
That means the border is our only protection.
But the embarrassing failures around managing the 3000 currently under supervision make it urgent that a new culture be imposed on the system. The rules needed to protect NZ from Covid are simple. They just need to be imposed.
That also means a dedicated government agency managing the process. No one comes to New Zealand unless they accept the rules. Everyone gets tested when they arrive and before they leave isolation. Isolation/quarantine is rigorous. Humanitarian exceptions can be allowed but they should be under constant supervision even when attending a funeral.
The problem appears to me that we have turned the entire country into privatised parts and we lack a dedicated public service that can step up and take on tasks vital to our development as a country. This includes setting up simple isolation and quarantine facilities and managing them effectively. Hotels and security companies formed to make a profit not provide a public service with staff with little training on the minimum wage are given responsibility.
In the public services everything has been privatised as far as possible through contracting out whatever they can. Even government owned companies like Air NZ and NZ Post and most power companies are forced to operate as for profit capitalist enterprises rather than be part of a public service.
In the end the government was forced to turn to the military to take over and run the quarantine-isolation system. That is a massive admission of failure in our core public service. It is a product of decades of running everything, including the health system, as if it was a business and not a service. The health service became simply cost centres that needed controlling. Bureaucratic management and cost cutting was imposed.  Whole new layers of management were imposed to count every bean being used at least three times. Front line health workers were treated as a problem to be controlled, disempowered and poorly paid. National planning around democratically determined health outcomes was abandoned. Elected health boards actually had no power over often out of control and even corrupt chief executives.
I have no confidence that the proposals in the new report on Health and Disability Services will address these key problems. Funding needs to be radically improved and guaranteed. A national health plan needs to be discussed and agreed in a democratic process involving workers and consumers, especially Maori who have been systematically neglected. Health system workers need to be an important part of the management boards and also be trusted to run their workplaces in the interests of us all.

45 COMMENTS

  1. Get a grip man, the government’s responsibility is to its people to keep safe in a pandemic, so complaining about not getting non residents in fast enough, is crazy!

    We don’t have the health facilities to care for people in NZ if there is an outbreak of Covid and having union members seem more worried about relatives and love interests of permanent residents who don’t even live here, and can’t get them here fast enough, is part of the problem.

    They already allowed 2400 people to leave NZ quarantine without being tested for Covid!
    https://thedailyblog.co.nz/2020/06/21/reinfection-no-dr-bloomfield/

    All the new Covid cases are coming from overseas so getting that process 100% correct, is a lot more important than adding to NZ risks for more braying liberals and neoliberals who want their flakey degree money, while expecting NZ to support the world’s population in NZ in terms of care and welfare.

    We already pay a fortune to house returning people to NZ in quarantine, now apparently those are advocating opening the flood gates for more non residents on our health system, roads, water, schools etc.

    Weird that user pays never seems to impact those who live overseas in NZ… just the people who live here…

    • Kiwi citizens first and in numbers that are manageable.
      Migrant workers and students have had a good thing and benefited but that can’t go on obviously for many reasons. We can and must adapt to employ Kiwis or change the business management.

      Tourism is not a part of the picture and may not be for a long time. Fossil fuel consumption has to be reduced drastically and cutting non essential frivolous activities like tourism is a no brainer.
      You can’t have it all ways as much as you may well try to justify BAU.
      Do we have excess housing that needs filling because that is not what I hear.

      Yes a state owned and run public service is a foundation for good government.

  2. Yes, Mike.

    And education, of course, which was morphed from education into a for-profit business, especially in the case of higher education. Research to better the knowledge base? Not likely: research to benefit a corporation.

    30 years of deliberate underfunding and social engineering are not going to be turned round in time to prevent disaster in NZ, I’m afraid. The global system is unravelling as I write, with major sectors of the world economy on the edge of collapse.

    Just look at what’s happening in the US, where the selfishness and greed model has lead to premature ‘reopening’ of the economy’, with disastrous consequences that are about to get a lot worse very quickly.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jun/20/florida-covid19-surge-reopening-governor-desantis-coronavirus

    NZ needs to take a radical approach. And since the Adern government is one of tweaking of business-as-usual, it is not capable of radical thinking.

    So we have to wait for the global collapse to impact here, and then try to pick up the pieces, I’m afraid.

    Individuals can prepare for what’s coming, and many are. But as long as the mainstream media keep churning out messages about return to something akin to pre-Covid-19 arrangements most people will follow them ‘off the cliff’.

  3. A country and its people held to ransom by a scamdemic and a runaway government.
    Dished up on a plate for the New World Order.

    • Only heard from redneck America.
      A real mixture of simple facts amid a miasma of confused logic and wild statements.
      Do nothing and it will come right seems to be the message.
      Who sponsors that sort of BS.

  4. Most alarming are the forced medical procedures being performed at the border, where if you refuse to be flu tested you receive a house arrest of 14 days. It shouldn’t matter if someone refuses this test, a 14 day quarantine has been set as sufficient so refusing shouldn’t extend isolation from 14 to 28 days. This is political/ideological.

    • For heaven’s sake – what are you on about? There are requirements that people have to meet to enter any country. If someone has the right to enter NZ at present, the country has the right to expect that they will not unleash a serious infection on the country. If testing is a problem, the alternative is that they shouldn’t contemplate coming to New Zealand. Besides, would you also be alarmed if the self-entitled ‘right to chooser’ required life-saving medical intervention for Covid-19 and the state refused to provide it?

      • No thanks aom. 14 days has been set for quarantine, no more no less. I don’t want a noone like Bloomfield in my country acting like a dictator and throwing his toys because he can’t get his way with his human experiments

        • Do a bit more research Jody – the standard without testing is 28 days. Besides, Bloomfield didn’t make the decisions, he provided the science and, because of the consequences of errors, had to offer conservative assessments. Since you are so dissatisfied when the vast proportion of us are appreciative of the lack of community transmission, you could avail yourself of the underutilized flights that are leaving the country. There are plenty of options that would be available, depending on the level of risk you want. Probably the best options are the US or Brazil where there is greater scope for you to offer your body in the interests of pro-infection human experimentation.

        • While you are confidant about 14 days being sufficient the virus is not always on time so there will be some that take longer than 14 days to show symptoms while those that are asymptomatic will not show symptoms but happily spread the virus to make others sick.

    • It is an insult to all those that are seriously ill and have faced many life threatening procedures to compare it to a cotton bud up your nose.
      By Xmas this year we can expect 120000 to be unemployed and if someone is selfish enough to not want a simple 2 minute test to help not make it worse then they can stay locked up at their own expense for as long as it takes to be 120 percent sure they are not carriers

    • If a quarantine is strictly managed perhaps that may work but to refuse testing earns a refusal of entry to NZ with costs attached for sending the offender back to where they came from.
      No one is being experimented on. Its an entry requirement procedure.
      All our recent cases have been connected with entry to NZ.
      Globe trotters accept the position they are in by choice.

  5. Why should P.R people be given priority over citizens wanting to get back to NZ?
    And allowing their partner and kids that aren’t P.R’s in is insane. If you want ‘full protection’ become a citizen, not a (quite likely) carpet bagger.
    I get any Kiwi voluntarily leaving NZ now, should be stuck in ‘this potential’ queue to get back home, but not those choosing to come home after being away for a number of years etc.

    • Good point, Kevin, citizens should be getting the priority before permanent residents…. too many permanent residents have left NZ but when the s**t hits the fan, suddenly want to be back here and be given a nice cheque from the NZ taxpayers and free health care for their troubles – when the world economy resumes, back off earning money elsewhere …

  6. It is an insult to all those that are seriously ill and have faced many life threatening procedures to compare it to a cotton bud up your nose.
    By Xmas this year we can expect 120000 to be unemployed and if someone is selfish enough to not want a simple 2 minute test to help not make it worse then they can stay locked up at their own expense for as long as it takes to be 120 percent sure they are not carriers

  7. Is it possible to turn army facilities into make shift quarantine facilities and have planes touch down there instead of air ports? Surely if a Hercules can touch down a Hercules can touch down in an army facility an air bus can. Every arrival should be considered positive and treated as such

  8. Every arrival is potentionally an extra burden on New Zealand with unemployment rapidly rising. Shut the gates and be done with it until the Covid thing is under control world wide.

    • The trouble being is that many returning residents were immigrants when National allowed massive migration. The latest cases being returning citizens from India.

      • This particular debate has been pretty much apolitical, which is really refreshing. But then along comes Bert who just can’t help himself…with the logic of a 3 year old.

      • So did Labour years ago, flooding the country with immigrants, even into the early 2000s. They were then Chinese and other Asians, South Africans and British, and others.

  9. ( Some of you will enjoy this eye muscle exercise by rolling them through 360 degrees as you read. )
    I think our borders should remain closed tighter than a ducks bum hole.
    Anyone wanting to get in, or return back to here, should be quarantined for four weeks. And that would be the whole plane load, not just the one with the sniffles.
    The minister of trade should step out of his comfy office, take our BMW to the airport and fly off first class to the UK, The EU, the USA and where ever there are people who need to eat and do his fucking job!
    Winnie? get off your arse you dodgy, lazy Scunthorpe. Get in some money for us to spend on us.
    Or are you still running a ‘deep state’ confederate, logical fallacy deflection program to protect your mates who fuck our farmers over daily and have done for generations? You need to let that one go mate. Come clean, get it over with.

    “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade is the public service department of New Zealand charged with advising the government on foreign and trade policy, and promoting New Zealand’s interests in trade and international relations.” Wikipedia

    winnies dodgy self and his equally dodgy mates will sell us into debt via foreign bonds issued which will fuck our economy and will see us into poverty… except the already rich, of course. They’ll make billions out of this fuck up.
    winnie? what were you and don brash talking about when you were photographed outside that cafe? At a time when the ocr was running at up to 22% and forced many people into bankruptcy and good, experienced farmers off their land, farmers, being our primary industry who grow or otherwise create the very foods we eat. That, on reflection, seems a bit sketchy doesn’t it? A bit dodge’.

    • Restricting immigration is a death sentence to our corrupt business model based on supposed ‘eternal’ growth, that is why business lobbyists and those depending on business will eventually say, stuff it, let the old and sick die of Covid, we need MONEY.

  10. WE could grab all the motels and use those. Hang on a minute haven’t they all be bought to house the needy?

    Or maybe we could contact our cuzzies in Oz and ask about setting up ‘camps.’ They have a bit of experience in those I believe.

  11. A visa is something granted at the discretion of the host country, not a right. Event now with the limited entry levels we have seen new cases almost immediately. Think also at the general low level of competence there seems to be now in the public service. Too reliant on contacting out, no internal experts or staff. Every time you deal with a government department you feel you are there to make them money, no public service ethic. Wholesale reform is needed.

  12. They should look at a different process for Kiwis coming in from Oz. Those from Queensland, Tasmania, WA and SA (presuming no symptoms and no temp) should not need to go into quarantine the states are free of community spread.

    And those from Victoria and NSW who are not living with others should go into home isolation (if they commit not to leave or have any visitors) – and agree to either phone tracing or bracelets.

    • After coming this far there would be too bigger risk managing Ozzies straight in without testing and at least 14 days isolation.

  13. People need to stop all the fucken whinging and be thankful they are here and can come here and they are not in one of our two main allies countries that are falling apart at the seams. Get a grip alright.

  14. People need to stop all the fucken whinging and be thankful they are here and can come here and they are not in one of our two main allies countries that are falling apart at the seams. Get a grip alright.

  15. People need to stop all the fucken whinging and be thankful they are here and can come here and they are not in one of our two main allies countries that are falling apart at the seams. Get a grip alright.

  16. This really was quite a bizarre piece, putting the interests of those who hold passports for other countries ahead of Kiwis who don’t live elsewhere. We need to pull up the drawbridge! Not quite sure I’d call it a betrayal, but certainty lacking in loyalty/sense/reality. But what’s his agenda? Where is this coming from?

  17. I think we should prioritise those that come back from countries less prone to covid unless they can pay for quarantine themselves and have taken steps themselves to ensure they are less likely to have covid. The real hot spots we should know what countries they are by now we should give them lower priority unless measures have been taken as mentioned. People who can afford to travel should be made to pay. It is not fair others who are poor get burdened and we all know who are the most at risk. We know its not the rich more likely the poor and some elderly who don’t have the means to protect themselves. People might say this is being racist but we are not the ones that control the immigration setting in our country and we are not the ones that benefit from it either in fact it is detrimental to many of us.

  18. I think we should prioritise those that come back from countries less prone to covid unless they can pay for quarantine themselves and have taken steps themselves to ensure they are less likely to have covid. The real hot spots we should know what countries they are by now we should give them lower priority unless measures have been taken as mentioned. People who can afford to travel should be made to pay. It is not fair others who are poor get burdened and we all know who are the most at risk. We know its not the rich more likely the poor and some elderly who don’t have the means to protect themselves. People might say this is being racist but we are not the ones that control the immigration setting in our country and we are not the ones that benefit from it either in fact it is detrimental to many of us.

  19. Co-opting hotels was pretty amateurish really – though no doubt a lovely windfall for their corporate owners. A dedicated true isolation facility is starting to look pretty necessary.

    First it was neoliberalism that was going to make us all rich. Then it was offshore land sales and mass low-wage immigration. Can’t wait for the next flatulent lie. Anything, anything at all – except looking after our own people.

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