Coronavirus: German Sailors Detained for Breaching Covid-19 Border Restrictions - Politics | PoFo

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Brad Flahive wrote:Coronavirus: German Sailors Detained for Breaching Covid-19 Border Restrictions

Three Germans who sailed to the Bay of Islands on their yacht have been detained while Immigration NZ makes arrangements to remove them from the country on the next available flight.

Their 16-metre vessel, Anita, arrived in Opua on Friday afternoon despite being declined permission to enter the country by the Ministry of Health.

They had requested an exception to the Covid-19 marine border restrictions for their vessel, but chose to set off on their voyage before receiving approval.

Anita was met by the Customs NZ patrol vessel Hawk V and escorted to a quarantine dock at Opua marina.

A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Health confirmed the vessel did apply for an exemption, “albeit after they had already sailed for New Zealand”.

“They applied for exemptions on two grounds, humanitarian and bringing the vessel to New Zealand for repair,” she said.

“Their application was declined because the Director-General of Health was not reasonably satisfied that the ship had a compelling need to arrive in New Zealand that reached the high threshold required for either of these exemptions.”

Exemptions to New Zealand’s closed maritime border must be sought before a vessel embarks on its journey to New Zealand and obtained before it arrives, she said.

“The Ministry has previously provided guidance to potential applicants that ‘humanitarian reasons’ would be unlikely to include situations relating solely to financial loss, or to vessels travelling primarily for pleasure or convenience such as tourists or ‘wintering over’.”

People in vessels travelling to New Zealand to avoid the cyclone season in the Pacific may have other genuine humanitarian reasons or other compelling needs for coming, which would need to be demonstrated in order for these vessels to qualify for an exemption – but financial loss alone is unlikely to meet the criteria.

“While there were aspects of the case that were unfortunate, these did not rise to the threshold of a compelling humanitarian need,” she said.

“As much as our country is known for its hospitality, New Zealand cannot become a maritime Covid-19 safe haven for everyone in unfortunate circumstances.”

Immigration NZ’s national manager of border and visa operations Peter Elms said their decision to knowingly travel here without approval “demonstrates a blatant disregard for New Zealand’s border restrictions”.

“Being refused entry may have long term consequences for the individuals – their visa waiver status for New Zealand may be suspended and it may impact their ability to travel to other countries in the future.”

Non-New Zealand citizens and returning residents must either be exempt from the border restrictions or have been approved a border exception, regardless of whether they are travelling by air or sea.

The crew of the vessel were all tested for Covid-19 which returned negative. They have also been isolated on their vessel for over 14 days.

“The swift response to this situation should send a clear message to others who might consider doing similar. Attempting to breach New Zealand’s border controls is a serious matter and will be dealt with accordingly.”

Source: ... strictions

This is very positive, it shows that New Zealand is determined to enforce its borders. There is too much of this freedom of movement mentality. Countries have the right to allow or deny entry to foreign nationals, especially during a pandemic.
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