Wellington Scoop

Holidaying in Australia? You’ll need a 14-day isolation when you return

Report from RNZ
New Zealanders planning to take quarantine-free trips to Australia should remember they will need to be isolated upon their return home, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has warned.

Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack today announced a limited one-way travel bubble between New Zealand, New South Wales, and the Northern Territory, with flights across the Tasman expected to resume on October 16, without requiring New Zealanders to quarantine in an Australian hotel for two weeks.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison earlier told the National Press Club in Canberra that New Zealanders were “very, very welcome” to spend money in New South Wales and South Australia (though South Australia was not included in the bubble which was announced later in the day).

However, he said he would not be able to announce Australians could travel to New Zealand, as that was New Zealand’s problem to solve.

Ardern told reporters at Labour’s housing and resource management policy announcement this afternoon that it was still too unsafe to be opening New Zealand’s borders to Australia.

“In our view we are not ready to have quarantine-free travel with Australia. They have a very different strategy to us, and so they’re making that decision … but for now we of course have to keep our New Zealanders safe.”

She urged New Zealanders to spend their tourism dollars domestically, and cautioned that those going to would have to go through isolation when returning.

“I encourage New Zealanders to think about spending their dollars here locally.”

She says the pressure for New Zealand to open up has been “the same the whole way through”, implying that Australian states opening their borders would not affect her decision.

“The National Party in particular have called for us … to open up the border. We have resisted that because we want to keep New Zealanders safe. We will not open the borders for quarantine-free travel with Australia until it is safe to do so because doing it too early risks losing all of the freedoms we already have in our economy.”

Tourism Industry Aotearoa chief executive Chris Roberts told Checkpoint the policy was a “crack in the door”.

“Someone might want to buy a one-way ticket to Australia to reunite with family but no-one’s going to hop on a plane and go for a weekend’s shopping in Sydney and come back into two weeks’ isolation in New Zealand,” Roberts said. “It’s the first development of opening up the Tasman, but it’s fairly inconsequential.”

Roberts said he thinks internal Australian politics is behind the announcement.

“The federal government in Australia and the government of New South Wales are working together to put pressure on the other Australian states to open up, because there are still barriers to travel from state to state in Australia. What they really want is for all of Australia to open up. New Zealand is sort of being used to get that to happen.

“In a way we’re happy to be used because it starts the conversation. We can start having talk about how that safe travel can happen. But until we can have isolation-free travel on both sides of the Tasman it’s not going to make a big difference.”


  1. Kara, 2. October 2020, 17:58

    why bother going across the ditch to west island if paid isolation for 2 weeks follows; plenty of places to visit in the north and south islands instead.

  2. Codger, 3. October 2020, 9:14

    What are the hourly rates for fruit-picking in Australia compared to the slave-rates here?


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