Exemption granted for Wallabies to enter NZ

Minister of Finance Grant Robertson. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone.

The Australian rugby team is being granted an economic exemption to enter New Zealand ahead of the Bledisloe Cup on August 7.

Travel between Australia and New Zealand was suspended on Friday for at least eight weeks following the worsening of the Covid outbreak across the Tasman. New Zealanders have a seven day window to return home.

At the Cabinet meeting last week, the Minister for Covid-19 Response or the Director-General of Health was authorised to consider exemptions on a case-by-case basis for people not normally a resident in New Zealand to travel from Australia to New Zealand, within the return window for events which have significant economic impacts.

The Wallabies have been granted an exemption by the acting Minister for Covid-19 Response Ayesha Verrall on this basis.

“This is important economically. A test match is estimated to be worth between $17-20 million in spending for host regions, while the broadcast rights provide much needed income for the sport, which positively effects all levels of the game,” says Grant Robertson.

“Test rugby between the All Blacks and the Wallabies is keenly anticipated by New Zealanders, and I welcome the decision to allow the Australian team to travel given the game was less than two weeks away when trans-Tasman travel was suspended.

“The Wallabies have been operating in their own bubble for some time, and will travel from their base in Queensland on a charter flight to Auckland on Friday morning. They will have to fulfil all normal obligations for travel including negative pre-departure tests within 72 hours of their travel.

“The exemption means the Bledisloe match in Auckland can take place on August 7. Decisions on the other games are dependent on ongoing discussions between New Zealand Rugby and Rugby Australia.

“This decision was not taken lightly by the Government and given the Wallabies use of a charter flight, there is no restriction on public access to a return flight to New Zealand.”

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