Now the Government has decided on a date to reopen the border, the Green Party says additional steps should be taken to keep everyone safe.
“As we reconnect Aotearoa with the rest of the world, the priority must always been on the wellbeing of whānau and communities,” says Dr Elizabeth Kerekere, Green Party spokesperson for COVID-19 Response.
“There is no doubt that reopening the border has increased the risk of worsening the peak of any Omicron outbreak and introduction of future variants.
“Which is why the Government needs to support Māori and Pacific providers to vaccinate children and give boosters to their whānau before we open to self-isolation.
“N95 or equivalent masks should also be given free to those who cannot afford them, and more support given to Māori, Pasifika and community health providers to support people in self-isolation,” says Dr Elizabeth Kerekere.
Ricardo Menéndez March, the Green Party’s spokesperson for immigration added: “Every family deserves to be together, but thousands have been separated from their loved ones as a result of the pandemic.
“Priority should be given to people who want to come home to reconnect with whānau, including those who will be making Aotearoa their home.
“The Government should allow for the processing of visas for families as part of the first stage of reopening for non-citizens.
“Migrants stuck offshore who lost their visas because of our border settings should also be issued replacement visas and allowed to come back safely in April alongside other visa holders,” says Ricardo Menéndez March.