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Northland, and Auckland/ Waikato Border Update

From Midnight Tuesday (11.59 pm on Tuesday 31 August 2021) Auckland and Northland will remain in Alert Level 4. Because the rest of New Zealand will move to Alert Level 3 a hard border will be established at the south of Auckland in the same location as the February 2021 Border. This border will be strictly enforced.

No person will be allowed to cross the border in or out of Auckland if they do not have a travel exemption issued by the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

If a service or provider (e.g. vet services) that you use is located on the other side of the border, you may not be able to access them during this time where an equivalent service or provider is available on your side of the border. Be prepared to make alternative arrangements.

Our advice is that if you were expecting to cross the Auckland/Waikato border from Wednesday onwards to put measures in place to minimise or eliminate the need to do so.

Summary

As of 11.59 pm on Tuesday 31 August 2021, Auckland and Northland will remain in Alert Level 4 and the rest of New Zealand will move to Alert Level 3. While there is not much difference between these two levels, please check what the updated restrictions are by referring to the COVID-19 website here.

The government has indicated that the Level 4 restrictions in Auckland will continue to be in place for another two weeks (at least) and they will look to move Northland down Alert Levels prior to any movement to the Auckland border if they believe it appropriate to do so, this will be reviewed on Monday 30 August 2021.

We are encouraging all farms and their support services to make plans for an extended lockdown due to the uncertainty of how long Level 4 or 3 restrictions will last.

At the time of this Member Advisory going out, the new COVID-19 Public Health Response (Alert Level Requirements) Order 2021 that contains details of the government decision and how it will work has not yet been released.

What we know

Essential Services

The primary sector should retain its status as an essential service which means that farmers, their employees, and contractors are permitted to travel for work for the purpose of food production or animal welfare.

Currently the description that farming falls into is ‘The Primary industries (being food and beverage processing, packaging, and production for both domestic consumption or export, plus the relevant support services) and veterinary and animal health and welfare services.’

Essential workers should still minimise or eliminate the need to travel within, into, and out of the Auckland region.

Inter-Regional Travel – Crossing the border

We understand that no person will be allowed to cross the border into or out of Auckland if they do not have a travel exemption issued by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE). Further to this the exemption will have a unique identifier for each individual (QR code).

The travel document currently available on our website WILL NOT allow the holder to cross the regional Alert level border into or out of Auckland after 11.59pm Tuesday 31 August.

If you are needing to cross the Alert Level border after 11.59pm Tuesday 31 August, you will need to hold approved travel documents issued by MBIE. In line with previous lockdowns there will be a strong Police presence and without these documents you will not be permitted to cross the border.

In the meantime, consider if there are arrangements you can put in place prior to the change of alert levels that would prevent or substantially reduce the need to cross the border. Are you able to get someone else to check on your stock who will not need to cross the border? Can you pick up supplies on Monday or Tuesday if your supplier will be on the other side of the border? Keep in mind that with any travel you undertake that if you are questioned by the police you will need to show evidence of your need and you do so safely.

Be prepared to make alternative arrangements should you not be able to access your usual services or providers across the border.

Travel Exemption Application Process

Applications for travel exemptions are expected to be able to be made from midday tomorrow, however there are some things you can do now to prepare.

You will require a REALMe login, check at realme.govt.nz to apply or check if you already have one.

You will also need your NZ Business Number (NZBN) which can be found at nzbn.govt.nz

The application process is expected to open midday on Sunday and can be found here

You will need to offer a genuine and urgent need to travel in the application and offer evidence to support this (more is better), however as previously said if you are able to make arrangements that would support you or your workers to not cross the border then we recommend you take this course of action.