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A Victorian family who broke Covid rules and flew to NZ are in managed isolation


Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says there are consequences for people who break the trans-Tasman bubble rules, even if they aren’t fined or jailed. The NZ Herald reported that three people from Melbourne have been put into managed isolation in New Zealand after misleading officials about where they were traveling from.

The trio, residents in Australia, planned to attend a funeral during their trip to New Zealand. They drove to Sydney, flew to Auckland, and were caught at the border after deception officials. It appears they broke the trans-Tasman bubble rules – which could lead to a $4000 fine or six months in jail – and the Victoria lockdown rules. They will now have to pay for their 14-day quarantine stay.

Melbourne is subject to a two-week lockdown as the city battles to contain a Covid-19 community cluster. Restrictions are in place for anyone from Victoria wanting to travel to other parts of Australia. Ms. Ardern said that their mandatory stay in quarantine was a punishment, regardless of whether the police decided to charge them.


She asked why they shouldn’t be charged and said, “There are consequences”. “To anyone considering breaching the rules that we have in place – in this case, the family has been picked up and put into a managed isolation facility.

“As for fines, those decisions do sit elsewhere.” Director-general of Health Ashley Bloomfield said relevant border agencies would review processes, even though it appeared this resulted from “disappointing actions” from the three people concerned.

They have all tested negative for Covid-19; their three-day test results are due tomorrow. Ms. Bloomfield said he hadn’t looked into whether the trio should face charges but added that they might also face charges in Australia for breaking the Melbourne lockdown rules.

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It followed a breach of the trans-Tasman bubble rules at the end of April when a man flew from Perth to Auckland via Sydney while there was a pause on flights to New Zealand from Perth because of an outbreak there. The man appears to have lied about whether he had traveled from Perth.

The man’s travel highlighted how easy it is to breach the rules in the trans-Tasman bubble, which had only been running for a week at the time of his flight. By the time his identity and travel were confirmed, he had landed at Auckland Airport and eluded authorities. When health officials caught up with him, he was allowed to self-isolate in Northland.

Immigration NZ manager Peter Elms said it was a high-trust model at the time. The multiple checks included questions at the airport and data-matching from border agencies to check if people had flown from an area where flights to New Zealand were paused.

But people who drove to an area where flights to New Zealand continued could break the rules by lying about whether they’ve been in a locked-down place. “For somebody intent on getting to their end destination, regardless of the rules, it’s a straightforward option they can take if they’re willing to lie,” Elms told the Herald in April.

“Quarantine-free travel, certainly when it comes to pauses or suspension, relies heavily on people’s honesty, people’s ability to understand and follow the rules in place.” This article originally appeared in the NZ Herald and is republished here with permission


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