By banning travel between the United States and a large number of European nations, Donald Trump has secured his re-election, National MP Judith Collins says.
On Thursday, the US President announced drastic measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus. Any foreign national who has been within most European countries in the last 14 days is barred from entering the United States for at least 30 days. The restrictions, however, do not apply to the United Kingdom or Ireland.
The illness has so far infected more than 127,000 people worldwide and killed 4700. Within the United States, 1323 have the virus, but the real number is suspected to be far greater considering the high likelihood many people have yet to report themselves sick due to only having mild symptoms.
The European Union (EU) has condemned Trump's ban, saying that the coronavirus pandemic was a global crisis and it "requires co-operation rather than unilateral action". A statement from EU Council president Charles Michel and the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the decision was made by the US "without consultation".
But National's Collins said Trump's decision is probably "the right thing for his people and he has certainly done the right thing for himself".
"He has just secured himself his re-election if there was any doubt," she told The AM Show.
"The Americans want their borders protected and I know that people who travel from Europe to the US will be all upset, but most Americans don't do that, most Americans are just trying to get along with their lives."
Following Trump's ban, European airline stocks dropped significantly. It will also have a big impact on tourism. According to US Travel Association, in March 2019, European visitors to the country accounted for 29 percent of arrivals and US$3.4 billion of spending.
Stephen Hoadley, an associate professor of politics and international relations, says the Europeans are justified in feeling frustrated. He said allowing travel from the UK seemed "discriminatory".
"The United States is a partner, they are NATO allies, [the Europeans] should have been consulted, there should have been prior knowledge, it came out of the blue, they were blindsided and they are very cross."
"This is going to make diplomacy much more difficult"
He was also sceptical about whether the decision will benefit Trump domestically.
"For those in the middle, there are a whole lot of undecided voters and they're the ones that both parties are trying to swing in their direction. Trump's base may be very firm, might be 35 percent, maybe the Democrats have 35, 40 percent, and then the great ones in the middle are going to be hit by the economic consequences of this, the political consequences, and they may swing then in the Biden camp."
Questioned by host Duncan Garner on whether Trump's decision was the right thing for the world, considering possible job losses and the economic impact, Collins said: "I'd rather not die too early". She then said she doesn't think that's going to happen.
"But then again, look at what's happened in Italy. I am finding it quite staggering, those numbers of people dying," she said.
According to John Hopkins' University, more than 12,400 people in Italy have the illness. The death toll there jumped above 1000 on Friday. The European nation has gone into complete lockdown, with restricted movement, shops being closed, and public gatherings banned - an awful situation, according to Labour Minister Willie Jackson.
"I was in Rome in September, I think. It is such a wonderful city. You go out at 11 o'clock for dinner. I was listening to this couple yesterday and they were having their dream holiday there and they can't leave the hotel and Rome is dead. It is just so sad, it's shocking," he told The AM Show.
New Zealand only has five confirmed cases of the illness so far, and is expected to introduce further travel restrictions on Friday. At the moment, people who have been through or come from China or Iran can't enter the country, while those from Italy and South Korea must self-isolate for 14 days.
Disruption to trade routes as well as tanking international markets are having severe effects on New Zealand's economy, with tourism, forestry and seafood industries particularly hurt. With China in essential lockdown, exports have also declined.
Collins believes things will get even tougher, but New Zealand is lucky due to our local farmers.
"We are fortunate we have farmers who produce food and, no matter what, people have to eat and that is a good thing... it will buffer us to a point," she said.
"We will have had some loss of those markets... particularly from China, but China now seems to be starting to get over the wave of coronavirus."
The illness originated in Wuhan, China and infected nearly 81,000 people nationwide. However, in recent days authorities there appear to have minimised its spread, with only 15 cases recorded there in the last 24 hours.
Jackson said he believes New Zealand's Government is doing everything it can to protect the country's growth.
"I think everything is in place. You have got daily reports from the Prime Minister, you have got the Health Minister on. You can access the hospitals, we've got the phone lines working.
"We need a bit of calmness, we've had five cases. It hasn't spread in the regions, we've got the support in place."
He noted that details of a business continuity package, which will include targeted wage subsidies, will be revealed next week and already a tourism package has been announced.