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When will New Zealand's borders reopen?


Christmas is only a few months away – but the trans-Tasman bubble is looking unlikely to reopen in time.

A trip back to New Zealand for Christmas is looking unlikely for more than 500,000 Kiwis who call Australia home with the trans-Tasman bubble remaining closed until at least the end of November.

In July, the New Zealand Government suspended quarantine-free travel from Australia to New Zealand as New South Wales struggled to contain outbreaks of the delta variant.

And last week, deputy prime minister Grant Robertson announced that the country's ban on quarantine-free travel from Australia will remain until November 17 at least.

Then in November, the government will decide on whether to extend the ban, or open up the trans-Tasman bubble again for Christmas.

However, Robertson says it's 'extremely unlikely' that New Zealand will fling open the borders again come November in time for Christmas.

'It doesn't feel like a very likely outcome that we would start again in eight weeks, but we want to make sure that we've got the ability to reassess it then.'

Robertson says the government is working on a phased reopening of New Zealand's wider border, which will begin next year. Under the plan, countries with high vaccination rates and low levels of Covid-19 will be able to enter the country more freely.

'What we want to do is see where we are - both countries and states within Australia ... on vaccination rates in eight weeks time,' he said.

'We have a desire to get New Zealanders vaccinated, and once we do that, that opens up a series of options.

'The more people we get vaccinated and the quicker we get them vaccinated, the more options open up for us,' Robertson says.

Meanwhile, the CEO of Air New Zealand, Greg Foran, says he is confident international travel will resume next year but expects major changes to the trans-Tasman bubble.

He warned that travellers to New Zealand would probably be required to show proof of vaccination – and need to take a Covid-19 test before departure.

'You're probably going to have to do a pre-departure test. You're probably going to have to do a test on the way home, and you're probably going to have to do a test when you arrive back in the country,' Foran says.

Key Takeaways

  • New Zealand will decide in November whether to open up the trans-Tasman bubble in time for Christmas, but deputy prime minister Grant Robertson says it remains unlikely.
  • The CEO of Air New Zealand, Greg Foran, expects some significant changes to the trans-Tasman bubble, such as travellers needing proof of vaccination, along with a negative Covid-19 test before departure.