New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has confirmed today that she will announce a start date for quarantine-free travel for Australians in just over a fortnight on April 6th.
Speaking in a post-cabinet news conference in Wellington today, Ms Ardern said: “We will announce the commencement date to start travel on April 6th.“
That’s the start date announcement – not the actual start date – just to be clear.
“While opening up our borders is a priority not only for tourism, business and reuniting families, we also know that many New Zealanders are nervous”. Said Ms Ardern.
“People want certainty. To date, we’ve been unable to offer certainty.” She added.
Saying that getting the final green light on the arrangement was “highly complex”, Ms Ardern noted a number of operational factors that would need to be satisfied before the public start-date could be announced.
Those factors include:
- New Zealand’s response framework being fit for purpose
- Measures in place to contract trace effectively
- Technical issues being resolved involving transiting passengers
- Appropriate regulatory measures in place
- Airlines being ready and green and red zones set up for airports
- Getting approval from New Zealand’s Director of health
“Once we have met the criteria, we will make a decision.” Said Ms Ardern.
Asked how long the gap might be between the announcement and start date, Ms Ardern said: “We’ve always said it would be soon,”
“It is close,” Ms Ardern said.
This is the kind of warm welcome we can all look forward to again soon…
Australia’s border has been mostly open to neighbouring New Zealanders since last October, with a few short suspensions when there were small coronavirus outbreaks in Auckland. But New Zealand has delayed returning the favour amid more frequent bursts of COVID-19 clusters across Australia.
Pressure has been mounting on Ardern’s government to allow Australians entry as the country’s tourism sector struggles without international visitors. The opposition National Party is calling for quarantine-free travel with Australia to start immediately.
Australia reopened its quarantine-free bubble to travellers coming from New Zealand on March 11 after it was closed after an outbreak in January.
Air New Zealand opens up return flights ex Australia from April 19
Air New Zealand has today loaded a schedule of bookable trans-Tasman fares into its online system for travel from Australian cities from April 19 onwards.
New Zealand’s national carrier is planning to restart a regular quarantine-free trans-Tasman schedule again from April 19.
Return fares to Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington and Queenstown worth at least AU$1000 return for an economy seat only.
Read more here.
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