Domestic travel has 'to be encouraged', but Government's messaging 'ambiguous' – Nelson Mayor

With the tourism industry being hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, Nelson Mayor Rachel Reese thinks Kiwis should be encouraged to travel domestically as New Zealand nears closer to Alert Level 2.

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Rachel Reese says communication from the Government about travel under Level 2 needs to be clearer. Source: Breakfast

Yesterday, the Government outlined what life would look like at Alert Level 2. Under Level 2 bubbles will effectively come to an end with more interaction with others allowed. Domestic travel will be allowed, businesses and schools will open. Gatherings of people will have to be kept to under 100 people.

A decision on if New Zealand moves out of Alert Level 3 will be made by the Government on Monday, May 11.

Ms Reese told TVNZ 1's Breakfast this morning the possibility of domestic travel is good news, but it needs to be encouraged to support those in the industry doing it tough.

"Level 2 is wonderful news for family and friends, you know, we can move around the country and inter-regional travel," she said.

"But we've got to be absolutely clear, it [yesterday's announcement of Level 2 restrictions] was a little bit ambiguous, it was a little bit not encouraged. It's got to be encouraged, it's got to go.

"We need people, we need airlines up and operating, we need air connectivity and look, it is great news, but it's a long climb."

Ms Reese also called on the Government to invest in tourism in it's upcoming budget, including targeted wage subsidies for the sector.

"These guys are absolutely bleeding money at the moment, most of them are in debt. We had 70 of our tourism operators connecting yesterday and the stories are desperate."

Later on Breakfast, Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis said he wouldn't preempt next week's Budget, but said that the Government was continuing to support both tourism and other businesses suffering from the pandemic.