Work in progress: Tourism Minister Stuart Nash, right, in Queenstown this week with Queenstown's mayor Jim Boult


Tourism Minister Stuart Nash admits the government’s new self-isolation plan for, initially,
returning Kiwis is a ‘‘high-trust model’’, and says they’re still to hammer out the details.

In Queenstown on Tuesday to reveal proposed new freedom camping legislation, Nash said
there’s still ‘‘work to do’’ on what the seven-day self-isolation requirement will look like.

As of January 17, fully-vaxxed Kiwis in Australia can come home, from February 13, fully-
vaxxed Kiwis from anywhere in the world can come back, and ‘‘by April 30’’ anyone from anywhere can come to NZ — provided they’re fully-vaxxed — but they’ll have to self-isolate, too.

When asked, Nash said the government’s still waiting for the self-iso test trial to finish at the end of this month, but is working with ‘‘various tools around geo-isolating’’ and having people ‘‘call in’’.

‘‘If we try two calls and they haven’t called back, they get visits.

‘‘So there are a number of things in place, but we do actually trust Kiwis to do the right thing.

‘‘There’s still more work to do on what this will look like when Kiwis come back, so we haven’t got everything nailed down just yet.

‘‘Be assured, it will be a high-trust model, but there will be things put in place to ensure
people obey the rules.’’

But last Wednesday, Queenstown’s mayor Jim Boult wrote to Nash, Finance Minister Grant
Robertson and their boss, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, asking them to waive the self-isolation requirement, which he says will kill what’s left of NZ’s tourism industry.

In Queenstown, Nash said the government’s always taken a ‘‘risk-based approach’’, and says even if returnees and, eventually, visitors are double-vaxxed and test negative ‘‘there are carriers’’, who’ll bring Covid to NZ anyway.

‘‘We do need to understand what that is going to look like.

‘‘We just have to wait and see how things play out, but we will continue to take that risk-based approach.’’

Boult says he’s worried about the ability for many tourism businesses to keep doors open
given the pressure on Queenstown’s economy and the need for ‘‘certainty going forward’’.

‘‘We will not get international visitors here if they have to spend the first week in [self-isolation].’’

Nash admits future international visitors will need ‘‘a slightly higher risk tolerance and reasonably full wallet’’ in, at least, the first quarter of next year, ‘‘but that’s what we’ve put
in place’’.

‘‘From where we move just to a point where tourists come in and they get off the plane and
they jump in a car and travel down to Queenstown … there’s still a little bit of work before we get there.’’