New Zealand Opens Borders to Visa-Waiver Countries

    Image copyright: AP [via The Guardian]

    The Facts

    • On Mon., New Zealand opened its borders to vaccinated tourists from around 60 visa-waiver countries including the US, Canada, Britain, and Japan, among others.

    • New Zealand immigration authorities describe visa-waiver requirements as "passport holders of some countries and territories [that] do not have to apply for a visa before they travel to NZ but must hold an NZeTA (New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority)."

    The Spin

    Left narrative

    New Zealand has proved itself to be safe, with one of the lowest COVID death rates in the developed world and a highly vaccinated population. Reopening borders is a welcomed and deserved change that will bring both economic opportunities and relief to travellers all over the world.

    Right narrative

    While a step in the right direction, the announcement shows a disappointing lack of consideration for split families from non-visa waiver countries. Although Ardern has claimed that New Zealand is ready to welcome the world back, the failure to open the border to everyone is a clear contradiction.

    Establishment-critical narrative

    Fortress New Zealand' has fallen. After two years of pandemic isolation and being lauded as a global COVID success story, the Omicron variant is now ripping through the Pacific nation. Omicron's speed makes isolation obsolete, and New Zealand - and its well vaccinated population - must now re-open and learn to live with the virus.

    Political split



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