A Rotorua Lakes councillor has praised the New Zealand Government for suspending travel from India because of a surge in Covid-19 cases.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today the ban would start on Sunday and remain in place until April 28 after 17 of the 23 new cases in managed isolation announced today arrived from India.
Raj Kumar told the Rotorua Daily Post some would take issue with the ban but he thought it was a good decision.
"I'm glad the New Zealand Government has woken up to the challenge," he said.
"Safety is paramount and what are we trying to be safe from? Not from Indian people, from Covid-19.
"When you've got all these people coming back into the country from these high case areas, something has to be done."
Rotorua Multicultural Council president Margriet Theron was surprised the Government had shut the border.
"We've always said [citizens and residents] have the right to come back to New Zealand. It is a very strong step to take," she said.
"The [Covid-19] numbers are putting people on our borders at risk and so we have a responsibility to do something.
"Having said that, it's a dramatic decision to make to say New Zealand residents and citizens cannot come back."
Multicultural Tauranga president Premila D'Mello said the organisation supported the Government's decision as an interim measure.
"We are confident the New Zealand Government will lift the preventative measures as soon as the situation improves," she said.
"This is very important for the travellers as well as for Managed Isolation and Quarantine workers and the New Zealand healthcare system."
Meanwhile, Ardern said Covid cases were spiking again, particularly in India and Brazil, and New Zealand was not immune.
New Zealand cannot prevent citizens from arriving in the country permanently, hence the temporary halt.
Although arrivals from India had triggered the risk assessment, Ardern said the Government would look at risks from all high-risk countries.
The Government had been reviewing its border settings in recent weeks, Ardern said.
She said ultimately New Zealand wanted fewer cases arriving in the country.
A worker at the Grand Millennium managed isolation and quarantine facility has also tested positive.
University of Otago public health researcher Nick Wilson had earlier been calling for tougher entry conditions on those arriving from so-called red zone countries where Covid was spreading freely.