Jacinda Ardern begs UK tourists to return to New Zealand
Now Jacinda Ardern begs UK tourists to return to New Zealand after years of keeping EVERYONE including her own citizens out in pursuit of doomed Zero Covid policy
- The Pacific nation went into isolation after the pandemic started in March 2020
- Since then it has placed heavy restrictions on who is allowed into the country
- Ms Ardern appeared on Lorraine this morning and urged UK tourists to visit
- It comes as it prepares to allow people from every country in the world back in
- However, there will still be restrictions on the entry of unvaccinated travellers
Jacinda Ardern has begged UK tourists to visit New Zealand as it prepares to fully reopen its borders after more than two years of isolation due to her ‘Zero Covid’ policy.
The New Zealand Prime Minister did her best to sell her country as a winter sun holiday destination during an appearance on ITV’s Lorraine this morning.
Speaking on the show, Ms Ardern said people from the UK can already visit the country despite it being locked away from the rest of the world since March 2020.
The Pacific island nation had gone into one of the world’s strictest lockdowns at the beginning of the Covid pandemic, restricting almost all travel in and out of the country, even trapping some of her own citizens outside.
Strict lockdowns were also imposed in the country in an effort to snuff out the virus as the New Zealand Labour Party politician implemented a ‘Zero Covid’ goal.
Despite fierce criticism from some in the country over the restrictions, Ms Ardern has repeatedly defended the rules, saying they saved lives.
Speaking on ITV’s Lorraine this morning she urged UK tourists to visit the country after it loosened rules so international travellers arriving after May 1 could do so without without quarantining.
Jacinda Ardern appeared on ITV’s Lorraine this morning to pitch New Zealand as a winter holiday destination for British tourists. Here she is pictured on the show today
There have been strict restrictions on who can enter New Zealand for more than two years. Pictured are mask-wearing travellers arriving at Auckland Airport
Before then people from the UK could only enter the country under certain conditions, such as to see terminally ill loved ones, or on a student or critical worker visa.
She said: ‘We’re actually already open, anyone in the UK you can travel now. I’ll put a plug in, your winter is our summer so make those plans.
Speaking to her Scottish host, she said: ‘Having being to Scotland though I can say summer is a little more summery in New Zealand, as much as I love places like Scotland.
‘I would like to think I can be objective, it [New Zealand] is just the most beautiful place.
‘What I love as well is you can get that combination of being in cities but then being in close proximity to nature, beaches, amazing walks, nature tourism and now food and wine – it’s hard to have a bad meal.’
The country is set to loosen almost all restrictions on entry at the end of the month. Pictured is a passenger wearing a face mask arriving in New Zealand
How can I enter New Zealand from the UK?
British nationals wanting to visit New Zealand do not require a visa.
The UK has an agreement with the country so Britons can spend six months in the country without a visa.
However, there are currently several additional requirements.
You will also need to get a New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA) before arriving as well as a conservation and tourism levy, costing a total of around £24.
New Zealand also demands proof visitors have been vaccinated.
Only people with valid reasons not for having the vaccine, such as medical reasons or being a refugee, are exempt.
You will also have to take two rapid antigen tests (RATs) at least one and six days after you arrive and declare your results.
Ms Ardern also defender her tough Covid rules, saying they helped save lives in her country.
‘We’re open and I think for everyone, there was no response to the pandemic that was without cost,’ she said.
‘It was either an awful and horrific cost to human life, or as we predominantly felt the cost of it being hard for people to move around.
‘You could come and go but we quarantined and because of quarantine it was limited space.
‘It was hard for everyone, but we came through it with much fewer hospitalisations and loss of life than most.’
When asked if she would have done anything different in hindsight, she said: ‘Of course. If you look back on something and you can’t think of something that you would have changed you’re probably not looking hard enough.
‘So absolutely. But the overall strategy, no, because I know it saved lives, I know it did.’
According to the World Health Organisation New Zealand has seen 1.3 million cases of Covid since the beginning of the pandemic, resulting in 1,466 deaths.
Most of these have come since February this year after an outbreak of the Omicron variant in the country.
Ms Ardern faced a slew of criticism from campaigners and members of the public after imposing strict Covid curbs since the start of the pandemic.
International borders were promptly closed on March 19, with a nationwide lockdown enforced on March 25 after 102 cases, and no deaths, were recorded in the country.
On June 8, the PM announced there had been no new community transmissions within the past fortnight and says she is ‘confident New Zealand has eliminated community transmission of Covid’.
But within two months, Auckland was placed under strict lockdown measures after just four new cases were recorded in the city area.
A draconian ‘Zero Covid’ goal was then implemented across the country, with New Zealand aiming to completely eradicate the virus from its shores.
But this policy was met with ridicule as the Delta variant ripped through the world in the summer of 2021, prompting a return to multiple weeks of lockdown for Auckland’s 1.7 million residents.
Critics slammed the return of draconian curbs on everyday life, pointing to the fact other countries have started to reopen despite reporting thousands of new cases.
MailOnline columnist Dan Wootton hit out at the ‘terror and paranoia’ that has enveloped New Zealand since implementing its drastic zero-Covid policy while the rest of the world learns to live alongside the virus.
His deeply personal column prompted support from a host of British and New Zealand readers, including former All Black star Zinzan Brooke, who tweeted: ‘Completely agree with Dan here’.
The restrictions even kept some of her own citizens locked out of the country, including a pregnant New Zealand journalist who was stranded in Afghanistan.
Charlotte Bellis spent months attempting to return home after learning she was pregnant in September 2021.
Pregnant New Zealand journalist Charlotte Bellis (pictured) was stranded in Afghanistan and turned to the Taliban for help as she was unable to return to her homeland because of Jacinda Ardern’s draconian Covid curbs
New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern faced a slew of criticism from campaigners and members of the public after imposing strict Covid curbs since the start of the pandemic
She submitted 59 documents to New Zealand officials in Afghanistan in an attempt to secure an emergency return home, but her bid was turned down and led her to turn to the Taliban, one of the world’s most oppressive regimes, for sympathy.
Speaking to 1News about her situation in January, Ms Bellis asked: ‘To the NZ Government, I ask what do you want me to do? I have done nothing wrong I got pregnant and I am a New Zealander.
‘At what point did we get so bogged down in these rules we’ve come up with that we can’t see that she’s a Kiwi in need of help and she needs to come home?’
Writing in the New Zealand Herald in January, Ms Bellis said it was ‘brutally ironic’ that while she had once questioned the Taliban about their treatment of women, she was now asking the same questions of her own government.
‘When the Taliban offers you – a pregnant, unmarried woman – safe haven, you know your situation is messed up,’ she wrote.
Ms Bellis said pregnancy can be a death sentence in Afghanistan because of the poor state of maternity care and lack of surgical capabilities.
She added that after talking to lawyers, politicians and public relations people in New Zealand, her case seems to be moving forward, although she has yet to be approved passage home.
Ms Bellis was eventually given permission to return home at the beginning of March, before giving birth to her daughter on May 26 in Christchurch.
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