Review of COVID-19 Border Measures (Maritime)
Provide assurance that the maritime border measures were being applied effectively and to identify any improvements.
- Since early in the pandemic, maritime border measures and restrictions have been in place to reduce the risk of COVID-19 reaching, and being transmitted, in New Zealand.
- The Border Executive Board proactively commissioned an independent review of the COVID-19 maritime border measures in July 2021. The Border Executive Board wanted to ensure the measures were being applied effectively and to check what improvements could be made.
- The review was largely completed during September and October 2021. As well as reviewing documents, interviews were held with 61 people from 25 organisations.
- The Border Executive Board thanks the review team for their diligent work, along with those who made themselves available for interview especially as these were carried out during the largest COVID-19 resurgence to date in New Zealand.
- The review concluded that “the processes and controls to implement the core Maritime Border Order requirements have matured and, for the most part, work reasonably well.”
- The Border Executive Board welcomes the review’s recommendations. All the recommendations have been closed, or have incorporated in ongoing maritime work. For example:
- The Maritime Senior Officials Group has established a maritime border work programme. The focus of this is on COVID-19 response and reopening our maritime border. A sizeable component of the programme is engagement with industry.
- This programme will propose further changes to the Maritime Border Order to align, as appropriate, with the Air Border Order and Reconnecting New Zealanders.
- A maritime all of government response group has been established. This ensures information is shared across the sector, and appropriate and proportionate action is taken for commercial vessels arriving under quarantine.
- Contactless cargo plans have been developed under an industry / government partnership framework for vessel management. The purpose of the plans are to minimise risk of COVID -19 for crew and port workers whilst ensuring the supply chain operations remain intact. Plans have been trialled in selected ports with great success and a plan to embed contactless cargo across all ports is underway.