New Zealand will ease its coronavirus border controls, the government said Friday, after a decision to let Hollywood director James Cameron into the country to film an “Avatar” sequel prompted anger over double standards.
Cameron and a crew of 55 arrived in Wellington from Los Angeles last month after receiving special permission to enter the country to film the sequel to his 2009 mega-hit.
The exemption prompted complaints from those who remained shut out by New Zealand’s border closure, including a father from Hong Kong who missed the birth of his first child
New Zealand closed its border to non-citizens and non-residents in March, and this week announced it had no active COVID-19 cases and had eliminated transmission of the virus.
Businesses had pointed to inconsistencies in the way the rules were applied, with Avatar workers allowed in because of the film industry’s economic clout but crews from the money-spinning America’s Cup yachting regatta barred.
“There are double standards here. It’s totally unfair and damaging New Zealand’s reputation,” New Zealand Association of Migration and Investment chairwoman June Ranson told RNZ at the time.
Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway said Friday that the requirement that dependents travel together with a New Zealand citizen or resident in order to enter the country, would be relaxed from next week.