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New Zealand job advertisement suggests borders could close for two years

A New Zealand government job advertisement has raised speculation the country’s borders may be closed to tourists for up to two years.

A job offer was posted on Tuesday for a communications advisory role at the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment.

The role will help coordinate returning Kiwis’ stays in hotel quarantine and has been listed as a fixed two year contract.

The listing said it had several roles ‘being set up to support Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) unit at MBIE to contribute to the All of Government Response to COVID-19’.

‘This is a significant public service and career development opportunity supporting our country’s first line of defence against COVID-19 spreading in our communities.

‘Our communications team will also support operational communications targeting returnees from the moment they book their ticket through to stay in and their exit from managed isolation and quarantine.’

New Zealand closed its borders to all non residents in March during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Government on Wednesday passed a law that will enable them to charge returning travellers to stay in hotel quarantine.

The fees will apply to any Kiwis who leave the country after August 10 or those who left earlier but are only coming back to visit New Zealand.

Any returning travellers are being made to stay and isolate in the hotels for 14 days.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment said there was no set time frames for staff amid the pandemic.

‘There is no timeframe for the operation of the managed isolation and quarantine system. We are in an unprecedented times with a global pandemic uncontrolled outside our borders,’ the spokesperson said.

‘Managed isolation is a cornerstone in the defence against COVID-19 and will remain in place as long as necessary, to protect New Zealanders and those returning home. 

‘Staff working in the MIQ team within MBIE are being hired on a range of different contract lengths, and timeframes may be revised if necessary.’

Discussions had surrounded a possible trans-Tasman bubble between New Zealand and Australia but Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern dismissed the idea.

Ms Ardern on Monday said Australia’s surge in COVID-19 cases was too risky to open up travel between the two countries. 

‘One of the things we said as part of our criteria was that anywhere we have quarantine-free travel, they have to be free of community transmission for a period of time, 28 days,’ she told The AM Show.

‘That is going to take a long time for Australia to get back to that place.’

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