John Campbell questions Todd Muller over idea to bring back 10k international students

National Party leader Todd Muller is continuing to push for international students to be able to return to New Zealand, but says protocols need to be followed to ensure it's safe.

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The National Party leader was questioned by Breakfast host John Campbell on how they he would manage bringing 10,000 students back in time for the second half of the school year. Source: 1 NEWS

His comments around students returning came after he slammed the borders "being managed in a shambolic way" on TVNZ1's Breakfast this morning after it was yesterday revealed two women with the virus had arrived in New Zealand and travelled around.

The pair, in their 30s and 40s, arrived from the UK and were in quarantine in Auckland, but were allowed to leave the quarantine earlier than the 14 days required to see a family member who was ill and has since died.

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The two women from the same family recently arrived in the country from the UK. Source: 1 NEWS

When asked by Breakfast host John Campbell what he would do differently, Mr Muller referred to his party's stance that up to 10,000 international students should be allowed to return for the second half of the schooling year - which is July - as long as there are "appropriate controls and quarantine framework".

"That sector can start again in the second half of the year but they need to be free of the virus before they leave. They arrive at a quarantine facility and get tested. Two weeks later, before they leave, they get tested," Mr Muller said.

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TVNZ1’s Q+A speaks to students who are waiting in limbo, as the education sector pushes for exemptions. Source: Q+A

National has argued that the Government is moving too slow to bring students back to New Zealand. The party said international students contribute about $5 billion a year to the New Zealand economy and support around 50,000 jobs.

However, Campbell questioned whether or not bringing in 10,000 students around the same time - for the second half of the schooling year - was doable.

"Do we have the facilities to cope with them arriving for the beginning of the second half, so more-or-less at the same time?" he asked.

"Absolutely we do, they don't all turn up at once," Mr Muller said.

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The National Party leader says he is appalled two women from the UK were allowed to drive around the country while infected with Covid-19. Source: 1 NEWS

Campbell pushed back, saying given it is June and the second half of the year is July, they would be turning up around the same time.

"It doesn't work like that, John. I know in your mind you think they all turn up at once," Mr Muller snapped back. "There's a significant online component as well."

Campbell then said if they're online, then they don't have to come to New Zealand.

Mr Muller responded, "Yes, but they do want to come back and experience the face-to-face participation in our education system."

"What you're framing up here is a binary choice that no one's here and then suddenly 10,000 people turn up at once. It doesn't work like that. We don't have the flights available to do that.

"What I'm saying is that we shouldn't stay completely locked to the opportunity when you can put a first-class quarantine management arrangement around it.

"That's what we would do, but this Government is showing, John, is that they can't manage the systems that they've got there in the first place and that is completely unacceptable."