‘Premier’s Christmas present’: Border change triggers touching reunions

The New Zealand border opening means more than tourist dollars for Far Northern families split since the pandemic slammed shut our borders.

JCU's David Craig thought 2020 would be flurry of flights across the Tasman to see his children, Charlotte, 19, and Lachlan, 22, studying in Aotearoa.

Coronavirus cruelly disabused Mr Craig and his wife Kylie of that notion.

"This year was supposed to be a lot of going backwards and forwards, but because of COVID we have not been able to see them since February," Mr Craig said.

The Craig family in Sydney. From left to right; Ashleigh, 25, Lachlan, 22, Kylie, Craig and Charlotte, 19.
The Craig family in Sydney. From left to right; Ashleigh, 25, Lachlan, 22, Kylie, Craig and Charlotte, 19.


He said the border announcement was "fantastic," and will allow the family to reunite without spending two weeks quarantining in Sydney.

Queensland's border will reopen to New Zealand from 1am on December 12, in a major relaxation of travel restrictions into the Sunshine State.

New Zealanders coming into Queensland will not have to quarantine.

"For me this is the Premier's Christmas present for the Craig family," Mr Craig said.

"It will make a huge difference to us.

"The family chat went crazy this morning when the news was announced; everyone was really excited.

"I can't begin to say what this means to us."
Like many families, the Craigs had resorted to video chats to maintain contact with his NZ based children.

"Thank goodness for technology, but it is not the same as physically giving them a hug," Mr Craig said.

"The next best Christmas present would be if the New Zealand Prime Minister would allow Australians to visit New Zealand without quarantine."

JCU Cairns campus director David Craig at the Ideas Lab. Picture: Stewart McLean
JCU Cairns campus director David Craig at the Ideas Lab. Picture: Stewart McLean

According to the 2016 Census, New Zealanders overtook the English as the most common migrants living in Queensland.

Data by the Australian Bureau of Statistics also showed more than one million NZ visitors travelled to Australian in the year ending June 2020, and the Land of the Long White Cloud was the highest source of visitors to Australia in the 2019-2020 financial year.

 

Originally published as 'Premier's Christmas present': Border change triggers touching reunions


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