New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the country will not open to Australians until April next year and even then only to those willing to self-isolate.
The New Zealand government unveiled its new Covid strategy which takes a very cautious and staggered approach to opening up, with fully vaccinated New Zealanders in Australia able visit New Zealand from January 17, and vaccinated non-citizens barred until April 30, and they will still need to self-isolate for seven days.
“We need to make sure we move cautiously,” said Ardern.
The announcement means the trans-Tasman bubble “doesn’t exist any more”.
“The bubble was a construct that was established when there was no Covid-19 in New Zealand or Australia,” said COVID-19 Minister Chris Hipkins.
“And that is no longer the case on either side of the Tasman.”
The news has been greeted with dismay by the New Zealand tourism industry who fear the country will be left behind as the rest of the world begins to reopen.
“With the latest dates for re-opening, we’re months behind Australia and out of step with the rest of the world,” Justin Tighe-Umbers, co-chair for the New Zealand Aviation Coalition, told 7news.
“International airlines plan schedules way in advance and New Zealand is falling off the radar.
”Every day that goes by without certainty, is a day they choose to put their assets elsewhere.”
Tourism Export Council of NZ chief executive Lynda Keene said the impact on international tourism businesses “cannot be understated”.
“Decisions today will affect the next five years of New Zealand’s international tourism offering,” she told 7news.