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TrueNZ Seeks Greater Clarity Around Permitted Travel In COVID-19 Lockdown Level 2

In the interests of an ordered and careful return to business for New Zealand tourism TrueNZ does support having restrictions on movement in Level 2 and is today seeking clarity from the Minister of Tourism, the Deputy Prime Minister and Tourism New Zealand.

TrueNZ contends that it is reasonable and desirable for some regional travel for non essential – i.e recreational – purposes to be allowed at Level 2.

TrueNZ wholly supports making this re opening of domestic travel gradual. We believe that our client base and the vast majority of tourism operators generally will support a graduated approach rather than risk a return to Level 3 or even worse, Level 4. We support the notion that the gains achieved by the Lockdown should be “Locked in”.

What we believe the problem right now is the confusion caused by the official guidelines themselves.

One of the official Government documents (Detailed Table of COVID-19 Alert Level – new as of 16 April 2020) states:

“People advised to minimise non-essential travel”,

while another Government document (Summary Table of COVID-19 Alert Level – updated 16 April 2020) states:

“People advised to avoid non-essential inter regional travel”.(emphasis added)

Adding these two pieces together we suggest a “reasonable person” would interpret them to mean that occasional recreational travel within one’s region is OK.

That is certainly a position we would support PROVIDING there is a reasonable and workable definition or guide as to what one’s “region” is. There is currently no such definition or even guideline.

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TrueNZ Managing Partner Michael Raymer says “On the surface territorial regions don’t work. For example, I live in North Canterbury (Rangiora). North Canterbury ends at the Waimakariri River so I wouldn’t be able to travel to Christchurch but could go in the other direction to Hanmer Springs.”

The recommendation from TrueNZ, today put to the Minister of Tourism, the Deputy Prime Minister and Tourism New Zealand is for an official guide along the following lines:

• Travel within your own bubble (preferably in your own car);
• Travel no further than 250 Km from home;
• If staying overnight (or longer,) stay within your own bubble.
• While away from home undertake activities preferably within your own bubble or at least exercising proper social distancing.
• Make sure any transactions are contactless.

Raymer says “We believe this is an appropriate step to take at Level 2 towards a wider opening of domestic travel at Level 1, at which point it may even be appropriate to open a “Trans Tasman Bubble”. Our overarching concern is that the re opening of tourism should be safe yet realistic.”

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