Bureaucracy killed off our foreign students

A fascinating story at Politik. The OIA papers revealed:

There was no overwhelming health reason why students from China could not have come to New Zealand universities this year. Instead, the Ministry of Health feared the students might create extra work if they were allowed in, and that appears to have been behind the decision to ban them.

So universities had seven quarantine or isolation facilities ready to go where foreign students could live for two weeks to ensure they didn’t have Covid. They also had 50 GPs and nurses lined up to manage them.

The officials said the health risk was “minimal” and 2,000 students could be allowed in.

So why didn’t it happen?

Basically the Immigration Service has no electronic system to check traveler eligibility – it has to be done manually by phone calls and could not cope with bulk exemptions.

So we have lost scores of millions of dollars of revenue from foreign students but due to a health risk, but because the bureaucracy used a manual system.

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