Update 30 August: if you’re applying for a business travel document, we’ve been advised that the quickest route is on food production grounds only.
Information for farmers who have properties or workers on either side of the expected Alert Level 4/3 border
- From Midnight Tuesday (11.59 pm on Tuesday 31 August 2021) most of New Zealand will move to Level 3, except for Auckland and Northland which will remain at Level 4.
- A hard border will be established south of Auckland, which will be strictly policed.
- We set out below the latest information we have received about how farmers or their staff may be able to travel across the border or get essential services. This information is only now coming through and could change.
- As Alert Level 4 businesses, farmers and their workers are permitted to cross the border.
- It is recommended that farmers apply for a business travel document for themselves and their workers that may need to cross the border and carry other relevant information, as this will likely make the process easier.
Where is the border?
- The map showing the border has been published. You can find the boundary map here.
- Key an eye on the map and check it before travelling in case it changes.
Who can cross the border?
- The primary sector is an essential service which means that farmers, their employees, and contractors are permitted to travel for work and to cross the border for the purpose of food production or animal welfare to carry out important farm work.
- Information about who can cross the border and the information/processes required can be found here.
- We recommend you read this and keep an eye on it as things may change.
- The Government wants to minimise any movement across the border to genuinely essential reasons so it can prevent COVID from moving out of the Auckland region. If you are able to make arrangements to avoid your or your staff having to cross the border, it is recommended you do this.
What evidence does a farmer or their worker need in order to cross the border?
If you are an Alert Level 4 business, it currently states on the MBIE website that you need one of the following:
- A travel business document provided by the Government
- A letter from the business which explains the nature of the business i.e. that it is an Alert Level 4 business, why the travel is essential and why the person named on the letter must travel. The destination (business address) must be recorded in this letter.
In both cases the person must have photo ID and proof of residential address.
- Because farming is an alert level 4 business you do not technically need to apply for a business travel document to cross the border, but we recommend you take a belts and braces approach and apply for a business travel document and carry as much relevant information as you can.
- The business travel document will generate a QR code and other official documentation which will likely make the border crossing process earlier.
- At this stage as the new process is bedding in, we recommend you carry both sets of documentation listed below.
Note: The business travel document is different to the travel exemption process which was mentioned earlier on in Government communication. Alert Level 4 businesses are permitted to travel across the border, but its recommended they apply for a business travel document. If you are not a level business, you need to apply for a travel exemption, which is a more stringent process.
How do I apply for a business travel document to cross the border? (Note this applies in either direction.)
- The application process is expected to open midday on Sunday and you can go here to apply.
- You will require a REALMe login, check at realme.govt.nz to apply or check if you already have one.
- You will also need your NZ Business Number (NZBN) which can be found at www.nzbn.govt.nz
- If information was supplied during the first lockdown then this information will be in the business profile. Check that the information is current and correct.
- Nominate a person who will complete the application on behalf of your business.
- Determine which workers are essential for the business (person doing the application mustn’t forget to include yourself – if applicable).
- Physical address of business(s).
- First names and surnames of workers.
- Explanation why the business falls into the permitted business category selected and why the travel of the named workers is essential (this will be required in the application).
Advice on filling in the business travel document
- MPI have provided the following advice on applying for the travel document. There are two categories under Primary Industries you could apply:
- Essential food and beverage workers, which will be approved by MBIE; OR
- For Animal Welfare purposes, which will be approved by MPI.
- The animal welfare category is probably the most appropriate category to apply under, given the main reason we expect farmers will want to cross the border is to undertake critical livestock management activities such as relating to lambing.
- Once approved he documents will be sent and placed in the business profile section.
- The document can be held electronically e.g. smart phone or printed.
- It is recommended that you print the documentation and place all of the documents on the dashboard for your vehicle.
How long will it take to get the business travel document?
- MBIE and MPI will start to process applications from Sunday. We understand that applications for business travel documents should be pretty straight forward. If you apply early, then you should have the travel document by the time it comes into effect at midnight on Tuesday.
Can vets or supplying services cross the border?
- Vets or other services essential for farming should be able to cross the border. Again it is recommended they apply for a business travel document.
- Given delays at the border, you may want to try and find a service provider within your same border first.
A couple of last words
We will keep you updated as things evolve.
In the meantime, we encourage you to make a plan as there may be delays at the border in the first few days.
- Is there work you can undertake now that means you will not need to cross the border next week?
- Are you able to get someone else to check on your stock who will not need to cross the border?
- Can you pick up supplies on Monday or Tuesday if you have a supplier on the other side of the border?
Please let us know how you find the business travel documentation process – good or bad, so we can provide feedback and advocate for any changes to be made to improve the service or just to say the process wasn’t too bad. Send your feedback to Maria Shanks: Maria.Shanks@beeflambnz.com