New Zealand travel bubble to begin in two weeks

The highly anticipated travel bubble between New Zealand and Australia will begin in just two weeks.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced this afternoon that quarantine-free travel between the two countries will launch on April 18, with a number of additional safety measures to reduce the risk of causing a Covid outbreak.

“When those in Australia, currently, make the welcome decision to come to New Zealand, they’ll be making a booking on what is called a ‘green zone flight,” said Arden.

“That means there’ll be no passengers on that flight who have come from anywhere but Australia in the last 14 days. They will also be flown from crew who have not flown on any high-risk routes for a set period of time.

“Passengers will need to provide comprehensive information on how they can be contacted while in New Zealand. They won’t be able to travel if they have cold or flu symptoms. When they fly, they will be required to wear a mask on a flight and will also be asked to download and use the NZ COVID Tracer app for use in New Zealand.

“On arrival, passengers will be taken through what we call ‘the green zones’ at the airport, meaning there’ll be no contact with those arriving from other parts of the world and going into managed isolation or quarantine facilities. We will also be undertaking random temperature checks of those arriving as an extra precaution.”

Any changes in the travel bubble could come into effect without notice though if either government mandated it.

“There is no requirement for either side to give written, formal notice before a decision is made,” Arden said.

“Because one of the important things we want to preserve on both sides is the ability for us to move quickly. That’s how we protect our position and look after everyone’s public health. We expect that will happen on both sides.”

The news was welcomed by Business Events Industry Aotearoa (BEIA), which said open borders with Australia was essential to ensuring the sector’s economic future.

“Australian clients are telling us they want to meet and do business person-to-person in New Zealand, and we can’t wait to welcome them back,” said BEIA chief executive Lisa Hopkins.

“This is a much-deserved relief for our business events industry members who have really battled for the last year.

“Business events are planned and booked well in advance, and today’s news will give Australian organisers the confidence needed to plan and book their events in New Zealand, not just for this year, but further ahead.”