Auckland summer travel allocation 'the stupidest idea' - Bishop

Anna Whyte
Source: 1News

National's Chris Bishop says suggested summer travel allocations for Auckland is the "stupidest idea I have ever heard".

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - NOVEMBER 26: National MP Chris Bishop speaks during the opening of New Zealand's 53rd Parliament on November 26, 2020 in Wellington, New Zealand. The opening of New Zealand's 53rd Parliament marks the start of the new three-year Parliamentary term. It is the first time Members of Parliament will meet as a Parliament.  (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

His comments come it was revealed a range of options were on the table for the locked-down city this Christmas, if it hasn't moved into the traffic light system.  

Bishop called the concept "ludicrous". 

"There is palpable anger and frustration in Auckland at the increasingly ludicrous suggestions from Government about how to handle Covid in Auckland."

Covid Response Minister Chris Hipkins said the Government is "committed to ensuring Aucklanders are able to leave Auckland for Christmas and the summer holidays... at the same time, we need to do what we can for the rest of the country to try and ensure it is people, and not the virus, that moves beyond the Auckland boundary".

"While no decisions have been made, we are talking with different sectors and groups who will be key to making a land boundary work safely and as smoothly as possible, and will keep the public up to speed with developments."

Hipkins said it would be challenging, but they were looking at using vaccine certificates and testing. 

It comes after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told ZM on Wednesday that "if anyone wants to make sure they are able to leave over the summer, that's another reason to get vaccinated".

Hipkins then told RNZ’s Checkpoint the Government was exploring an option to allocate a time in which people can travel from Auckland. 

"We're just working through what the practical options are to ensure that we don't end up with people spending days sitting in their cars."

Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson told RNZ he did not think it was practical, "but we do have to find a way through in the event that we still have a boundary there", if Auckland has not moved into the traffic light system prior to Christmas. 

Earlier on Thursday, National said it wants to end what it calls the "unfair, callous and illogical" MIQ system. 

"The MIQ system is not politically or morally sustainable," Bishop said.

"We have today launched a new petition so that Kiwis on and offshore can tell the Government in no uncertain terms that it’s time to end MIQ," he said. 

"Clearly we need quarantine facilities for some community Covid cases, but we must move to a system where fully vaccinated travellers who return negative pre-departure tests can enter New Zealand without spending time in MIQ hotels."

Bishop said their plan "envisaged travellers from lower risk jurisdictions – such as Queensland – not entering isolation at all, while travellers from higher-risk places such as New South Wales would spend a week in isolation at home". 

On Monday, people from low risk countries would be able to come into New Zealand without isolating , starting with Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu and Tokelau. 

Any non-New Zealand citizens must be vaccinated to enter.