Taiwan New Zealand Travel Bubble

Micky Turner made this Official Information request to Radio New Zealand Limited

The request was successful.

From: Micky Turner

Dear Radio New Zealand Limited,

New Zealand should of had a travel bubble in place with Taiwan since June 2020. There are 24 million Taiwanese and they spend a lot on overseas travel:

https://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/37...(Taiwan%20News)%20%E2%80%93Taiwan,on%20Monday%20(July%2022).

I am curious to know why for the past year the NZ media and most politicians have actively ignored the possibility of opening a Taiwan bubble.

Can you please forward all documentation RNZ has regarding a 'Taiwan & New Zealand Travel Bubble' from 1 April 2020 until now?

Please include all internal emails between RNZ employees / journalists - as well as emails to and from politicians, mayors, tourism operators etc.

Please also include links to any news articles RNZ has produced on this specific subject (a Taiwan & New Zealand Bubble). As well as links to all articles RNZ has produced on how our tourism industry is suffering.

Yours faithfully,

Micky Turner

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From: Maggie Hedge

Good afternoon Micky

RNZ acknowledges receipt of your OIA request. Under the Official Information Act 1982 we have 20 working days to respond, and will contact you via email /post. If for any reason our response is delayed due to illness, or pandemic we will advise immediately.

Kind regards
Maggie Hedge| OIA Administrator RNZ
[email address]

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From: Micky Turner

Thanks Maggie,

I'm excited to see what information you can find. My apologies for the amount of work involved.

I see that RNZ are more than happy to run a number of articles on a Taiwan & Palau Travel Bubble:

https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/paci...

Given that RNZ is fully funded by New Zealand taxpayers - I would be grateful if the person at RNZ who makes editorial decisions could explain why a Taiwan & Palau Bubble is more beneficial to our tourism industry and economy, and more newsworthy than a Taiwan & New Zealand Bubble.

Cheers - Micky

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From: Micky Turner

Hi Maggie,

Just a reminder - we are now over 20 working days.

Cheers - Micky

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From: George Bignell

Dear Micky

 

I have made inquiries internally at RNZ  and have been able to identify
any information which we hold which would meet the criteria you lay out
than your request below.

 

I'm sorry we are unable to assist you any further.

 

As we are required to do, this message is to also advise you that our
response to your request can be referred to the Ombudsman’s Office for
review under s 28 (3) of the Official Information Act if you wish.

 

Kind regards

 

George Bignell| OIA Inquiries Coordinator

RADIO NEW ZEALAND | LEVEL 2 | 155 THE TERRACE

PO BOX 123 | WELLINGTON | NEW ZEALAND 6140 | www.rnz.co.nz

DDI +64 4 474 1424 | [mobile number]

 

                                                                  
                              

 

 

 

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From: Micky Turner

Thanks George,

You have done an internal email search for 'Taiwan' and there are no emails mentioning a Taiwan bubble at all?

Please confirm.

Cheers - Micky

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From: George Bignell

Dear Micky

I can confirm that a search of our emails for the term "Taiwan & New Zealand Travel Bubble" has not returned any results.

Kind regards

George Bignell| OIA Inquiries Coordinator
RADIO NEW ZEALAND | LEVEL 2 | 155 THE TERRACE
PO BOX 123 | WELLINGTON | NEW ZEALAND 6140 | www.rnz.co.nz
DDI +64 4 474 1424 | [mobile number]

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From: Micky Turner

Thanks George,

Can you please send all internal emails which mention 'Taiwan'?

Cheers - Micky

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From: Micky Turner

Hi George,

Please send 'all' emails RNZ has on file since April 2020 which contain the word 'Taiwan'.

From what you are telling me - there won't be many - but if there is - I see there is automatic redaction software available which will make it a quick and easy process.

Cheers - Micky

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From: George Bignell

Good morning Micky

I have run a search on the word "Taiwan" and their estimated 26,000 results returned from our email archive. Because RNZ would have to review each of these editorially before release, even though we appreciate there is software to automate some aspects of that process, because of the substantial collation and research involved (see s 18(f) of the Official Information Act) in answering this query, RNZ declines to do so.

I'm sorry we could not be of more assistance in this matter which we now bring to a close.

Kind regards

George Bignell| OIA Inquiries Coordinator
RADIO NEW ZEALAND | LEVEL 2 | 155 THE TERRACE
PO BOX 123 | WELLINGTON | NEW ZEALAND 6140 | www.rnz.co.nz
DDI +64 4 474 1424 | [mobile number]

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From: Micky Turner

Thanks George,

The matter is not closed.

That is a lot of search results. It is very difficult to believe not one of those emails discuss a tourism bubble with Taiwan.

Please send all emails which include:
'Taiwan' and 'Travel'
'Taiwan' and 'Tourism'
'Taiwan' and 'Bubble'

- Micky

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From: Micky Turner

George,

Please note also: I am only requesting information from April 2020 until now.

If you are saying you have 26,000 results just within the last 12 months - it indicates RNZ has some major transparency issues.

- Micky

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From: Micky Turner

Hi George,

Just a reminder that the refined information requested on the May 12 - should be made available by June 09.

If there are likely to be any issues with this - please let me know.

Cheers - Micky

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From: Micky Turner

Hi George,

Just a reminder that the information requested - should be made available by tomorrow.

Cheers - Micky

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From: George Bignell

Dear Micky

As advised already, your request would involve substantial collation and research which we are not the position to undertake.

I'm happy to work with you to refine your request in some way to see if we can find a way to provide information to you, but please be advised that as the request stands at the moment, we will not be able to proceed with it.

Kind regards

George Bignell| OIA Inquiries Coordinator
RADIO NEW ZEALAND | LEVEL 2 | 155 THE TERRACE
PO BOX 123 | WELLINGTON | NEW ZEALAND 6140 | www.rnz.co.nz
DDI +64 4 474 1424 | [mobile number]

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From: Micky Turner

Hi George,

I feel it has already been refined on 12th May to all emails since 1st April 2020 until now which contain:

1. 'Taiwan' and 'Travel'
2. 'Taiwan' and 'Tourism'
3. 'Taiwan' and 'Bubble'

Can you please advise the number of search results for each of those so that I can understand which ones require further refinement?

Cheers - Micky

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From: Micky Turner

The irony of RNZ running stories on the lack of OIA transparency & integrity - while deliberately stalling this OIA request by using delay tactics.

https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/political/444...

- Micky

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From: Micky Turner

George,

I'll give you until midnight Wednesday 16 June to get back to me with some details on how we can work together to refine this request. If I don't hear from you by then - I'll push it through to the Ombudsman.

It is now over 2 months since this request was made.

- Micky Turner

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From: George Bignell

Dear Micky

I have already commenced work on this and will respond to you today.

Kind regards

George Bignell| OIA Inquiries Coordinator
RADIO NEW ZEALAND | LEVEL 2 | 155 THE TERRACE
PO BOX 123 | WELLINGTON | NEW ZEALAND 6140 | www.rnz.co.nz
DDI +64 4 474 1424 | [mobile number]

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From: Micky Turner

Ok, thanks George

Look forward to hearing from you.

Cheers - Micky

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From: George Bignell

Dear Micky

I am striking technology issues interrogating our email database for your requests. I currently have job in with IT Helpdesk and hope to have that resolved fairly quickly.

As soon as I hear back form that I will email you again.

Kind regards

George Bignell| OIA Inquiries Coordinator
RADIO NEW ZEALAND | LEVEL 2 | 155 THE TERRACE
PO BOX 123 | WELLINGTON | NEW ZEALAND 6140 | www.rnz.co.nz
DDI +64 4 474 1424 | [mobile number]

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From: Micky Turner

Hi George,

I see RNZ are still running stories about the impact on tourism, lost earnings and lost jobs.
https://www.rnz.co.nz/programmes/the-det...

Interestingly when I Google 'Taiwan bubble RNZ' there appear to be no stories on a Taiwan New Zealand travel bubble in 2020 or 2021. In fact this OIA comes up 5th on the list (under 4 about Palau). Seems to be that RNZ is working with the Labour government to keep the New Zealand public in the dark on this issue.

Please forward the requested information asap.

Yours sincerely,

Micky Turner

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From: Micky Turner

Imagine living in a country where the government fully controls the media - we appear to be living in one

Imagine living in a country where China enforce media censorship by proxy - we appear to be living in one

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From: George Bignell


Attachment image001.png
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Attachment Turner OIA 1 Redacted.pdf
2.5M Download View as HTML

Attachment Turner OIA 2 Redacted.pdf
2.6M Download View as HTML


Dear Micky

 

I must apologise again for the delay in responding to you, as I've had
quite some technology problems using the our tools to access our email
archive compounded by having to take bereavement leave in recent days.

 

In the end, I succeeded in completing searches on Taiwan with "bubble" and
"tourism" and attach the relevant files for your information. Email
addresses and contact telephone numbers have been redacted the privacy
provisions of Official Information Act.

 

As we are required to do, this message is to also advise you that our
response to your request can be referred to the Ombudsman’s Office for
review under s 28 (3) of the Official Information Act if you wish.

 

Kind regards

 

George Bignell| OIA Inquiries Coordinator

RADIO NEW ZEALAND | LEVEL 2 | 155 THE TERRACE

PO BOX 123 | WELLINGTON | NEW ZEALAND 6140 | [1]www.rnz.co.nz

DDI +64 4 474 1424 | [mobile number]

 

[2]RNZ-logo-reo                                                                                               

 

 

 

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From: Micky Turner

Great, thanks George!

Thanks for your time and effort!

I will highlight a few email snippets below for people who are interested to see if RNZ are withholding / censoring news from the New Zealand public, and for future historians.

Cheers - Micky

_______________________________________________________________________________

There certainly is evidence that RNZ were receiving information stating how it would be beneficial to form a travel bubble with Taiwan from as early as 11 May 2020. However as of 27 June 2021 - a Google search for 'new zealand taiwan bubble rnz' still returns zero RNZ news articles on this topic. We can only speculate that RNZ have been directed behind closed doors by the Labour Government - not to report on this topic because it will risk angering China. This highlights that all Government funded journalism is subject to political interference and is therefore not independent journalism. It also highlights growing foreign interference over New Zealand's sovereignty and indirect control of our media.

_________________________________________________________________________________
__________
11 May 2020
NEW Associate Professor Henry Chung, School of Communication, Journalism and Marketing, Massey
University, comments:

"NZ is viewed by Taiwanese as one model example in Western world. So anything it has done would be
well reported here and throughout Asia. I think the most important point is the 'incremental' approach as
this is also the approach used by Taiwan. Here the bars are suggested to be opened when they can
provide social distance and also have great cleaning procedures in place.

"Moving down to Level 2 would also signal that the situation in NZ is under great control, and this opens up a big international business opportunity for overseas customers coming down to NZ. People here also think that the adoption of the 'green passport' practice can be great as Asian customers can know that they would be coming to a very safe and virus-free environment. I understand many people here cannot wait for this practice.

"Also people keep asking when Air NZ can open up their Auckland-Taipei link again. They are wondering if we can move up the opening earlier from 30 June 2020. Again a large amount of inquiries on this vital link. Air NZ moves are viewed as symbols of NZ and its government. To have an earlier opening up not only opens up huge opportunities but also suggests that NZ is a safe country and, most importantly, its
international reputation is lifted up dramatically throughout Asia and the World."

__________
14 April 2021
What stories connecting New Zealand and Asia have been reported locally and internationally? Here's a
roundup from the past week.
3 Experts predict when to expect expanded Covid-19 travel bubble | NZ Herald
<https://asianewzealandfoundationmedia.cm...>
The long-talked-about Trans Tasman bubble opens up at the end of this weekend, giving New Zealanders the first chance in over a year to see loved ones in Australia without needing to quarantine on the way back. Could Asian countries be next, offering a lifeline to Asian Kiwis a lifeline to see their families? Experts have predicted what will be needed for New Zealand to expand its travel bubble, potentially first to include nations such as Taiwan, China, Laos, Cambodia and Mongolia.

________________
16 September 2020
Back in February, I wrote about how the classic Czech piano company Klaviry Petrof, founded in 1864, could face losses after China threatened retaliation on Czech companies after a Czech politician planned to visit Taiwan, which the Chinese government views as part of its territory.
* After a second Czech official visited Taiwan in August, China made good on that threat — a
Chinese company suspended a $23.8 million order of the Czech-made pianos.

__________
23 July 2020
Author Dr Eric Crampton argues that the New Zealand border should be re-opened to travellers arriving
from places that are similarly free of Covid-19 – like the Pacific Islands in the Realm and Taiwan – while all entry from other locations must be made safe.

__________
13 April 2021
It is good to hear that the government is finally going to set up a travel bubble with Australia. However, I do not see why we cannot open our borders to other safe nations like Singapore, Brunei, Taiwan, Vietnam, South Korea and Japan as examples.We should also get experts from these nations to come to NZ to assist us in dealing with covid19 issues and also opening our borders in a pragmatic and effective way. It is not enough just to depend on our local experts.
As we all know,tourism,skilled immigration and international students are crucial to the well being of our
fragile small economy. What is the point of being paranoid and closing our borders for long periods of time if it results in our economy being ruined?

__________
20 April 2021
For example, Australia and New Zealand could invite Taiwan to join their travel bubble. A Taiwanese
presence would subject our border arrangements to external scrutiny by one of the countries that has best handled the Covid-19 pandemic. Of course, Beijing would object to that move – but that does not mean that such a bubble extension would not be in Australia and New Zealand’s interest.

___________
12 May 2020
New report unpacks Taiwan's Covid-19 success
Wellington, 12 May 2020 - Taiwan’s relative success against Covid-19 makes it a great candidate for
connections with New Zealand after lockdown, according to a new report from The New Zealand Initiative.
As New Zealand prepares to downgrade to Alert Level 2, the Government will be keen to find other Covidfree countries to help restart the Kiwi economy.
Last week, deputy prime minister and NZ First leader Winston Peters publicly supported Taiwan’s bid to be accepted into the World Health Organisation. Taiwan’s foreign ministry has called on the WHO to “cast off” China’s control of it during the Covid-19 pandemic, complaining of barriers in handling the virus within its own borders.
Earlier this month, the New Zealand Government also suggested including Taiwan in its proposed “travel
bubble” along with Australia. The system would mean travelers moving between the three countries would not need to go into 14-day quarantine on arrival.

_______________________________
Sent: Saturday, 20 June 2020 11:30 AM
Subject: Tourism the biggest loser from quarantine shambles
Media release
Aroha New Zealand
Saturday, 20 June 2020
Tourism the biggest loser from quarantine shambles
New Zealand’s already struggling tourism operators will take the biggest hit from the latest high-profile
quarantine failings, says a leading New Zealand tourism businesswoman.
“Just when the tourism sector was getting excited about the prospect of an Australian travel bubble, a few Ministry of Health officials have let us down badly. Without doubt, this will set tourism businesses back several more months,” says Veronika Vermeulen, owner of Aroha New Zealand Tours.
This week the Prime Minister admitted New Zealanders have lost confidence in the Government’s
management of the Covid-19 at the border and she is now determined to restore public confidence.
Ms Vermeulen says while such determination is to be admired, it could see the Government overreach less than three months out from a general election.
“The real worry is the Prime Minister will want to be seen as tough and decisive, which could mean a
harder line against inbound visitors for longer. However, there are smarter ways to achieve better results, and several overseas countries are proving that.”
She says countries like Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, and Iceland are opening their borders safely but
strategically with strong protective measures in place to ensure the virus doesn’t enter their countries.
"As we all know, it's all about testing. Test, test, and test again!"
What’s more, after three months of lockdowns, the European Union has now told member nations they
should open to each other as soon as possible, with the likes of France and Germany already heeding their advice.
Ms Vermeulen says Taiwan is now allowing businesspeople in from lower-risk areas including New
Zealand on strict conditions. They must prove a negative test three days before arriving and remain subject to 14 days of quarantine, but they can shorten that if they pay for a test and test negative. She says similar arrangements should be put in place with Australian visitors.
"Frankly, opening the door carefully to Australia would save our business lives. The Foreign Minister is
instead now talking up Pacific ‘bubbles’ but they’ll only send domestic visitors overseas. The stark reality is we need inbound tourists if we’re to survive after the wage subsidy scheme runs out.
“Given New Zealand’s quarantine mistakes, we need to create a smarter border and a safer country, but
let’s not crash more businesses and create more job losses. Yes, the Government needs to restore public confidence, but not at the expense of our $40b tourism sector already on its knees.
“Tourism operators want to see a plan to safely open our country’s borders and understand exactly where we are at with the Australian travel bubble. Restoring public confidence will come when Kiwis know there are full-proof systems in place, not by further decimating our biggest export earner,” says Veronika Vermeulen.
Veronika Vermeulen is owner of Aroha New Zealand Tours and a travel industry expert. She has been
welcoming high-value, luxury foreign travellers to New Zealand for over 20 years.

__________
6 April 2021
Professor Nick Wilson, Department of Public Health, University of Otago, comments:
"Such quarantine-free travel arrangements by countries that have succeeded with elimination could be a
good model for further expansion of these green zones. For example, expanding to include various Asian jurisdictions such as Taiwan and China. But to ensure the success of this Trans-Tasman zone, the NZ Government should also do much more to reduce the risk of outbreaks arising from travellers from the “red zone” countries.

__________
15 Dec 2020
Dr Eric Crampton | Chief Economist |
Bubbles are beautiful but fragile things. Not letting the new one break matters.
New Zealand’s coming free-travel area with Australia is not the world’s first. Covid-free Palau and Taiwan
beat us to it last week. But it will be the most substantial one thanks to strong trans-Tasman links.
The closed border imposed massive costs on families kept apart; on communities that relied on trans-
Tasman tourism; and, on businesses that depend on travel between the two countries. The last on that list may be underappreciated. In 2019, the stock of Australian foreign investment in New Zealand was $129 billion. Not being able to pop round to check one’s investment for over a year can have consequences.
Maintaining quarantine-free travel with Australia is important. Expanding the bubble to include other Covidfree places like Taiwan and the Pacific Islands should be next. Both require keeping Covid out. Localised outbreaks would cause travel headaches, but broader outbreaks could break the bubble.

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