Coronavirus: EU opening border to Kiwis doesnt change anything, Winston Peters says
The European Union opening its gates to Kiwis doesn't change anything for New Zealand's border, Foreign Minister Winston Peters say.
Diplomats in the EU have reportedly told the BBC New Zealand has been deemed a "safe" country, one of 14 whose citizens will be permitted to enter Europe under new border conditions to be signed off by the union on Tuesday.
A majority of EU countries had signed off on the list, the BBC reported, though there was some discussion about requiring "reciprocity" of open borders.
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Peters, speaking to RNZ on Tuesday morning, said, despite talk of reciprocity, the New Zealand border would remain closed to anyone but residents, citizens, or people with special exemptions, and a two-week quarantine would remain a requirement.
"We're not changing our settings because of an, admittedly, very praise-worthy statement from the EU, but we're not going to compromise our country's health on the basis of, 'Well that's great, let's have all the EU flooding in here'," he said.
The Government has floated the idea charging Kiwis who leave New Zealand to holiday, in places such as Europe, knowing they will have to spend two weeks at a "managed isolation", or quarantine, hotel upon return.
"I don't think it's too much to expect you to pay for your own quarantine when you get back from your holiday," Peters said.
"We're working our way through that as a condition proviso ... I think this is bound to succeed in terms of a fair request. If you're going on holiday, knowing that when you come back you'll need to be in quarantine, then you should be paying for the quarantine."
On Monday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern warned those planning to leave the country for "non-essential" reasons during the Covid-19 pandemic might be left picking up their isolation or quarantine bill on return.
"It's just not fair to expect New Zealanders to pick up the tab on that," she said.
According to the BBC report, also on the EU's list of safe countries are Australia, Japan and Canada. But the US, Brazil, Russia and China have been left off.
The US and Brazil are both struggling with increasing numbers of coronavirus infections, while Chinese citizens will be allowed entry once a reciprocal agreement is made for EU citizens into China.
Source : Stuff.co.nz