Speaking on Monday at the final post-Cabinet press conference of 2020, the prime minister agreed to establish quarantine-free travel between the two countries.
Ms Ardern said that provided case numbers of COVID-19 remain low, details would be revealed in the new year.
The NZ government has come under increasing pressure to restore pre-COVID travel arrangements, ending the need for a mandatory 14-day quarantine for international arrivals, from Australia
The New Zealand Government has come under increasing pressure to restore pre-COVID travel arrangements, ending the need for a mandatory 14-day quarantine for international arrivals from Australia.
‘It is our intention to name a date… in the New Year, once remaining details are locked down,’ Ms Ardern said.
‘Our hard and early approach broke the back of the virus and despite flare-ups since… the vast bulk of New Zealanders have enjoyed freedoms for the majority of the year that few other countries have.’
Quarantine-free travel will require Australian government approval and COVID case numbers staying at rock bottom.
There would also have to be no change in either country’s COVID-19 situation.
Contingency plans will be included in the case either country has an outbreak and how passengers from ‘safe zones’ will travel compared to other zones.
New Zealand has also agreed to start a bubble with the Cook Islands, which has not had a single case of COVID-19, within the same timeframe.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced the country could open a travel bubble with Australia in the first quarter of 2021
Ms Ardern said one-way travel from the Cooks to New Zealand would come before any opening to Australia.
COVID-19 Response Minister Christ Hipkins is travelling to Auckland Airport on Tuesday to assess arrangements for the bubble.
New Zealanders have been able to travel to Australia without having to quarantine on arrival since October 16.
The Australian Government established a ‘safe zone’ with New Zealand but it was only one-way.
Passengers returning to New Zealand still have to complete 14-days of mandatory hotel quarantine.
Quarantine-free travel will also require Australian government approval and COVID case numbers staying at rock bottom