13 Jul 2021

PM Jacinda Ardern on trans-Tasman travel arrangements

11:26 am on 13 July 2021

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern addressed the media after attending the stage 2 opening of Papaioea Place social housing development in Palmerston North.

Watch Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern addressing the media here:

The release of 30 social housing units followed the completion of the first construction phase of Papaioea Place - Palmerston North City Council's $7.3 million redevelopment project - in March 2019.

On trans-Tasman arrangements, Ardern says the government is in the middle of bringing home New Zealanders stranded in NSW, and is keeping an eye on other states. Victoria has reported three new cases in the past couple of days after travellers from NSW tested positive.

She says more places for New Zealanders returning from Australia may be required in MIQ in the future, but the government is going to keep a close eye on demand.

"I think we should keep in mind here that also those travellers ... have been stranded for a long period of time. They are bearing the brunt of those decisions, we are simply covering the cost of quarantine."

She notes there are already exemptions for people returning on compassionate grounds, for example to attend funerals.

"This is about us both bearing the brunt of some of what has happened in New South Wales, it is nobody's fault."

She says she would much rather have a quarantine arrangement than face the risk of having a case coming to New Zealand.

The New Zealanders returning from NSW are going into 1000 rooms set aside for the trans-Tasman contingency, she says, a different pool to the MIQ rooms those people coming from other countries are using.

On state housing: Ardern says the houses at Linton are being rebuilt because they are cold and not fit for purpose.

National has announced a bill to prevent the government funding gangs, Ardern repeats her comments from yesterday, saying the programme run by the Mongrel Mob was based on one funded and supported by the National Party in 2010. She says the proposed bill is just political.

On using computer programmes to book MIQ, she says the system has protections in place to prevent automation: "We see no evidence that bots are actually able to make the bookings ... the individual still needs to go on and make the booking themselves."

And on Fiji, she says she's confident that Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama knows the offer of support from New Zealand is ongoing.