New Zealand Could Open Border With Australia From End of Week: 1NEWS

Jacinda Ardern
FILE PHOTO: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern participates in a televised debate with National leader Judith Collins at TVNZ in Auckland, New Zealand, September 22, 2020. Fiona Goodall/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

SYDNEY ⸺ New Zealand could open its borders to Australian travelers as soon as the end of the week, New Zealand broadcaster 1NEWS reported on Tuesday without saying where it obtained the information.

The report comes as New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is scheduled to announce the date for quarantine-free travel with Australia later on Tuesday, after facing mounting pressure from businesses to open the border.

The so-called ‘travel bubble’ would restrict travellers from certain areas in the event of an outbreak in Australia and is expected to run on a state-by-state basis, the broadcaster said.

Australian tourists visiting the country during the ski season and school holidays would “really matter” to struggling industries in New Zealand, Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson said during a breakfast show also on 1News.

Robertson, however, did not give any indication of when the border will open.

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Both Australia and New Zealand have managed the COVID-19 crisis more successfully than most other developed nations after closing their international borders to non-citizens and permanent residents very early during the pandemic.

Most Australian states have opened their borders to New Zealanders since last October but New Zealand has delayed returning the favour due to sporadic outbreaks in some Australian cities. 

Meanwhile, The Australian newspaper reported on Tuesday citing government and industry sources that quarantine-free travel between the countries could begin on April 12 or 19.

Airlines have started bookings with “the 19th pretty much definite”, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry tourism chief John Hart was quoted as saying in the report.

Australia’s foreign ministry did not immediately respond to requests seeking comment.

Reporting by Praveen Menon in Wellington and Renju Jose in Sydney; Editing by Christopher Cushing; Reuters

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