The union, E tū, is predicting a massive hit to the aviation industry as it scales back operations, affecting thousands of workers and their families on a scale not seen before.
New Zealand has announced the world’s tightest border controls to combat the spread of Covid-19 coronavirus, requiring all incoming travellers, including its own citizens, to self-isolate for two weeks starting from midnight on Sunday.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the extreme measures in Auckland yesterday, saying they were needed to prevent the rapid spread of the virus.
“Alongside Israel, and a small number of Pacific Islands who have effectively closed their border, this decision will mean New Zealand will have the widest ranging and toughest border restrictions of any country in the world,” Ardern said.
The country has just six confirmed cases (plus two probable cases) and has had no deaths, but Ardern said that number inevitably would rise.
“That is why ultimately, we must go hard and we must go early. We must do everything we can to protect the health of New Zealanders,” she said.
Businesses, job on the line
The Tourism Industry Aotearoa warned that tens of thousands of jobs could be on the line.
“Thousands of businesses are facing real threats to their survival, so the government’s business support package due next week is going to be incredibly important to ensure that we can keep people in jobs and we can keep businesses afloat,” said its chief executive, Chris Roberts.
The New Zealand Cruise Association chief executive, Kevin O’Sullivan, said his industry was in a state of shock.
“I can understand why the prime minister and the government are deciding to take these steps, but they certainly are much harsher than anywhere else in the world,” he said.
“Once again they seem to have the most serious implications for us in the cruise industry.”
Union predicts huge disruption
The union, E tū, says it’s preparing for a scale of disruption to the aviation industry unlike anything ever seen before.
It says the Prime Minister’s announcement will ensure a massive hit to the aviation industry as it scales back operations.
E tū’s Head of Aviation, Savage, says thousands of workers and their families will be affected as cabin crew, caterers, aviation security, customs, airport workers, engineers, ground handlers, refuellers, and cargo workers see a massive drop off in work.
New Zealand’s largest aviation union has close to 8000 members and it’s implementing a plan to ensure union members and their workplace leaders are supported.
It says consultations with employers will escalate in the weeks ahead as employers begin consulting employees about what the shutdowns mean in their sector.
E tū says other workers in hospitality and tourism are facing similar issues.
THE NEW POLICY
• All travellers arriving in New Zealand after midnight tonight, including New Zealand citizens, will need to self-isolate for 14 days.
• All travellers into New Zealand are being registered, and Healthline will step up how it monitors the self-isolation process.
• People from small South Pacific island nations, which have no confirmed Covid-19 cases, will be exempt from the self-isolation rule.
• Strict exit measures are being imposed to protect the Pacific, barring anyone who has been overseas from travelling to South Pacific islands for two weeks, and barring anyone who has had symptoms or been in contact with anyone with Covid-19 from travelling there.
• All cruise ships are being told to stay away until June 30.
• The Government is urging people to reconsider any non-urgent overseas travel.
• The restrictions do not apply to cargo ships or cargo planes or to marine or air crew. The government will be aiming to ensure sea and air freight routes remain open for imports and exports.
• The measures will be reviewed in 15 days.
• Finance Minister Grant Robertson will announce an economic response including the business continuity package on Tuesday.
• Government guidance on self-isolation and advice on mass gatherings will be released in the next few days.
• If you have symptoms of coronavirus, call the NZ Covid-19 Healthline on 0800 358 5453 (+64 9 358 5453 for international SIMs)