Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said from next year it will
be easier for fully vaccinated Kiwis to return to New Zealand. They
will still need to isolate at home for seven days, he said. The
self-isolation requirement will only be maintained while it is needed,
based on public health advice.

“For details around when travellers can enter New Zealand without
going into MIQ:

Step 1 – opening to fully vaccinated New Zealand citizens and those
residence-class visa holders and other travellers eligible under our
current settings from Australia from 11.59 pm on 16 January 2022
(provided they have been in Australia or New Zealand for the past 14
days)

Step 2 – opening to fully vaccinated New Zealand citizens and those
residence-class visa holders and other travellers eligible under our
current border settings, from all but Very High-Risk countries, from
11.59pm Sunday 13 February.

Step 3 – opening to fully vaccinated foreign nationals (possibly
staged by visa category), from 30 April onwards



From February 13, fully vaccinated Kiwis can travel from all over
countries, Hipkins said.

From the end of April, all other fully vaccinated travellers can come
into NZ without needing to go into MIQ.

Travel in 2022 won't be the same as pre-2020, Hipkins warned.

All travellers will require a negative test, proof of vaccination and
declaration they haven't been in very high-risk countries. They will
also require regular testing after they have arrived.

A phased approach to reconnecting NZ to the world was the safest
approach to protect vulnerable communities and the health system,
Hipkins said

The three steps constitute a new "medium risk pathway".

Those which don't fit this pathway will go through MIQ for seven days
and then self-isolation for three days.

On not allowing people to come back from Aussie before Xmas, Hipkins
said this was about easing restrictions in a safe way.

He referenced Auckland's shift to the traffic light system and then
the dropping of the boundary around the city, both of which would open
up the country to risk.

"We want to stay in that strong position as much as we can," Hipkins
said on the good impact vaccination had had on case numbers in
Auckland

The Government's approach was about progressively managing risk and
not opening up multiple pathways for risk.

Hipkins said he understood the trauma some families were going through
with these restrictions but wouldn't comment if any of his family were
impacted.

Bloomfield said the risk of vaccinated people coming into the country
was looked into carefully and there had been agreement with experts
that there was still risk

Each one of those travellers could start its own outbreak, Bloomfield said.

It was important to bed in the processes around travel for Aucklanders
domestically before opening up to overseas travellers more, Bloomfield
said.

Hipkins said the self-isolation trial for businesses had partially
informed the decisions made today.

Hipkins rejected the idea that international tourism had been kicked
down the road for more than six months, he said it would depend on the
nature of the outbreak and how self-isolation evolved.

Bloomfield said each of the cases we would get from overseas if we let
travellers in, it would be the opportunity to start a new outbreak
anywhere in the country. It was estimated NZ would see 60 more
positive cases each week

The modelling one expert had done had predicted a higher R value of
these travellers of between 5-6.

Hipkins said the best response for Maori communities was a relentless
approach to get vaccination levels up in those communities, which he
thought the Govt was doing currently.

On the transtasman bubble and asked whether it was completely gone,
Hipkins said moves were being made to reopen the border but accepted
that the bubble doesn't exist because it was functioning when there
was no Covid in NZ or Australia

Feedback from airlines indicated that changing requirements were very
hard to follow so the Govt wanted to keep things consistent.