Concerns raised by NZ citizens of COVID- 19 free Niue on managed isolation charges

Concerns are being raised by Niueans on the announced plans to charge managed isolation in New Zealand.

New Zealanders who enter the country temporarily, or who leave after planned regulations come into force will be charged for managed isolation. The Minister in charge of managed isolation facilities, Megan Woods, yesterday said the legislation will be introduced to Parliament.

Concerned citizens in Niue that have plans to attend graduation ceremonies in New Zealand in the coming months have called on the Premier to look into the matter.

It was not clear whether these charges will affect New Zealand citizens of the Realm countries Niue, Cook Islands, and Tokelau.

BCN News understands that the Niuean Premier Dalton Tagelagi will be speaking to the New Zealand High Commissioner Helen Tunnah on this matter.

Niue’s High Commissioner to New Zealand His Excellency Hon. Fisa Pihigia said he is awaiting a response from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade as to why it is necessary for Niueans traveling into New Zealand to be quarantined when Niue is COVID-19 free.

Prominent Niuean and advocate for Pacific issues in New Zealand Dr Colin Tuikuitonga said Niueans should not be affected by this policy adding that realm countries should be exempt.

New Zealand Herald reports that the Covid-19 Public Health Response Amendment Bill will mean only New Zealanders who enter temporarily, or who leave the country after the regulations come into force will face charges.

The fees will be $3100 per person in a room, $950 for each additional adult and $475 for each additional child sharing the room.

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Woods said they had designed a system that would be fair on returning New Zealanders and those who were already under financial stress.

It is expected to be passed next week before the end of the term, and further details on the scheme will be announced soon.

The government is forecasting that more people will be arriving at the border and has set aside $479 million to pay for the costs of managed isolation facilities until the end of the year.

Who will be affected?

Once the regulations come into force, it is proposed New Zealanders, and residents and temporary visa holders will have to pay charges as below:

Any New Zealander, who either:

  • Leaves New Zealand after the regulations come into force or
  • Is visiting New Zealand for less than 90 days

Classes of people such as the following who are proposed not to be liable for charges include:

  • Family members travelling or isolating with people who do not have to pay charges (unless they are entering New Zealand on a border exception as a critical worker)
  • New Zealand citizens deported to New Zealand
  • Diplomats and official government representatives
  • Any person travelling to New Zealand to attend the sentencing of the accused in the Christchurch mosque attacks
  • Refugees and protected persons for their first entry into New Zealand after the charges come into force

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