Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews’ fury over the New Zealand travel bubble has been undermined by revelations that he said nothing at a press conference just weeks ago when his chief health officer said Kiwis were “free” to travel on to Victoria.
A war of words has erupted after it emerged dozens of New Zealanders had arrived in NSW on international flights since the “travel bubble” started on Friday, only to catch a connecting flight straight to Victoria.
The Victorian Premier wrote to the Prime Minister on Friday night insisting this was unacceptable, but now concedes he can’t stop the travellers and won’t ask them to quarantine.
“We were asked, ‘Do you want to be in the bubble?’ and we said no,” Mr Andrews said.
“I’m not gonna be quarantining people that came from a low virus community, and we just have to make the best of this.
“We have updated our advice, our website made no mention of this prior to about 8:30pm last night, it now does and we will provide the best health advice because despite the fact that we didn’t want to be in the bubble, it seems like the bubble applies to every part of our country, not just those that said yes.”
But it’s subsequently emerged that Mr Andrews didn’t blink when his own chief health officer Brett Sutton said the New Zealanders were free to travel to Victoria earlier this month.
At a press conference on October 3, Prof Sutton said New Zealanders were “free” to travel to Melbourne because the border remained open.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison.Source:Getty Images
“I don’t know that we’ve missed out. New Zealanders are free to come to Victoria,’’ Prof Sutton said.
“The travel bubble, as I understand it, is that there is no quarantine requirement for those coming from New Zealand because of the risk status of New Zealand.
“But Victoria is open and we will be at a point very soon where there won’t be a concern with Victorians travelling.”
Melbourne broadcaster Neil Mitchell told his 3AW listeners on Monday that the audio proved Mr Andrews anger over the travel bubble was confected and a complete diversion.
“This carry on about the Kiwis is a total diversion. It’s an excuse for the Premier to unleash on the Feds,’’ he said. “Well, he clearly wasn’t listening to his own chief health officer,’’ he said.
A Melbourne-born woman who travelled to Victoria from New Zealand to attend her father’s funeral also told 3AW she resented the claim she had done something “sneaky”.
She revealed she had booked with a travel agent and checked the rules before travelling to Victoria.
“It’s been very stressful. I’ve come to my father’s funeral. We’ve had text messages saying, ‘Was I detained?’,’’ she said.
When she contacted Border Force – a federal government agency – they said there was no prohibition on getting on the plane.
“They said that I could, so I jumped on that plane,’’ she said.
New Zealanders on Air New Zealand flight NZ103 return to Sydney Airport from Auckland. Adam Draper greets his girlfriend Stacey Brown on arrival. Picture: Brett CostelloSource:News Corp Australia
The Victorian Premier blasted the PM in a strongly worded letter on Friday night after it emerged NZ travellers were on the loose in the state.
The letter states that Victoria “cannot accept onward travellers from New Zealand at this time”.
“I urgently request your action to prohibit onward travel of passengers,” Mr Andrews wrote.
“This action would avoid the need for Victoria to close its borders – an intervention I have resisted throughout this pandemic.”
But on Sunday night, the advice was changed to state New Zealanders are free to travel to Victoria.
“Currently the Victorian borders are open,” it states.
“If you are travelling from New Zealand and have passed all relevant immigration and biosecurity requirements as established by the Federal Government, New South Wales Government and Northern Territory Government, then you are able to travel to Victoria.
“You do not need to quarantine for 14 days on arrival in Victoria.”
Mr Andrews also revealed the Victorian Government had however door knocked the Kiwis to make sure they understood all of the rules in the state.
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