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Jacinda Ardern is SLAMMED for locking Australians out of New Zealand until April 2022

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Jacinda Ardern has been slammed for locking out overseas Kiwis and Australians until well into next year, with families forced to face another Christmas apart.

From January 17, fully vaccinated New Zealanders in Australia will be able to return home if they self-isolate for a week. New Zealanders in other countries will be able to follow suit from February 14.

Non-residents aren’t allowed to enter until April 30, with a seven day home quarantine still required – a move slammed as disastrous by the Australian Federation of Travel Agents. 

‘The approach taken by New Zealand to Covid-19 has been one of the most aggressive elimination strategies which we all know is not sustainable,’ Dean Long told The Australian.

‘I think everybody in Australia and New Zealand saw two countries that were closely aligned in terms of their recovery from Covid-19. That will be extremely challenging now with New Zealand’s re-opening so far down the track.’    

New Zealand will continue to block out Australians and overseas Kiwis into 2022 after Jacinda Ardern continued the country's hard borders (pictured, the trans-Tasman bubble in operation back in April - before it was shut down yet again)

New Zealand will continue to block out Australians and overseas Kiwis into 2022 after Jacinda Ardern continued the country’s hard borders (pictured, the trans-Tasman bubble in operation back in April – before it was shut down yet again)

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (pictured) said she resisted a push to open the border to overseas-based Kiwis this year in order to enable New Zealanders to 'have the Christmas they deserve'

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (pictured) said she resisted a push to open the border to overseas-based Kiwis this year in order to enable New Zealanders to ‘have the Christmas they deserve’

New Zealand’s Covid-19 Minister Chris Hipkins said vaccination rates meant ‘the time is right to carefully start the reopening of our borders’ in a ‘progressive and safe way’.

‘It’s very encouraging that as a country we are now in a position to move towards greater normality,’ he said.

Ms Ardern said she resisted a push to open the border to overseas-based Kiwis this year in order to enable New Zealanders to ‘have the Christmas they deserve’.

‘We need to make sure we move cautiously,’ she said.

Mr Hipkins said the first two dates were ‘locked in’ and people should make plans accordingly.

There remains some prospect the April 30 date may change based on public health advice, while Mr Hipkins also signalled a ‘bespoke’ arrangement could be created to help international students.

The changes also spell the end of the trans-Tasman bubble, a three-month quarantine-free travel exemption between COVID-free regions of Australia and New Zealand between April and July this year.

‘The bubble doesn’t exist any more,’ Mr Hipkins said.

‘The bubble was a construct that was established when there was no COVID-19 in New Zealand or Australia. And that is no longer the case on either side of the Tasman.’ 

The decision to delay the reopening to January will see many trans-Tasman families kept apart over Christmas (pictured, reunions at Auckland Airport back in April before the bubble was shut again)

The decision to delay the reopening to January will see many trans-Tasman families kept apart over Christmas (pictured, reunions at Auckland Airport back in April before the bubble was shut again)

Experts however believe the residual effects could be fire for the country’s tourism industry.

Mr Long says Australians will be looking elsewhere for their new year holidays, with the UK, US, Japan and Fiji the most popular destinations.

Qantas also lamented the decision, saying it was ‘really disappointing’ the countries couldn’t come to an agreement despite highly innoculated populations.

‘It’s really disappointing that people on both sides of the Tasman won’t be able to reunite before Christmas despite the fact vaccination rates in both countries will be among the best in the world by then,’ a Qantas spokeswoman said.  

The changes also spell the end of the trans-Tasman bubble, a three-month quarantine-free travel exemption between COVID-free areas of Australia and NZ between April-July this year

The changes also spell the end of the trans-Tasman bubble, a three-month quarantine-free travel exemption between COVID-free areas of Australia and NZ between April-July this year

NEW ZEALAND’S COVID BATTLE: KEY DATES 

November 29 – Cabinet meeting to set final parameters of vaccine pass system

December 3 – NZ switches to vaccine pass system

December 15 – Removal of Auckland border for vaccinated

Janiary 14 – Cook Islands to allow quarantine-free travel from NZ

January 17 – Australian-based New Zealanders can self-isolate on arrival

February 14 – New Zealanders from other countries can self-isolate on arrival

April 30 – All international travellers can self-isolate on arrival

Currently, all entrants to New Zealand must win a place in MIQ through a ballot, with limited exemptions for compassionate or economic reasons.

Arrivals must then pay to spend a week in a quarantine hotel, before self-isolating for a further three days.

The decision to delay the reopening to January will see many trans-Tasman families kept apart over Christmas.

Mr Hipkins acknowledged the suffering, but said the system was crucial in minimising the impact of coronavirus in New Zealand.

‘When it comes to COVID-19, there are often no easy decisions,’ he said.

‘We’ve often been faced with the task of making the least worst decision … the border is clearly an example of that.’ 

No exemptions for sports teams have been made, meaning trans-Tasman sporting competitions which were banking on freer movement in 2022 must re-draw their fixtures.

That means the freshly drawn Super Rugby Pacific fixture is up for a complete overhaul, as are the NBL’s plans to take the New Zealand Breakers back to Auckland. 

It also means the NZ-hosted Cricket World Cup will be played in March without foreign fans.

The decision won’t affect the Warriors, who have already committed to spending the 2022 NRL campaign in Australia to avoid any uncertainty. 

The Australian men’s cricket team, scheduled to play three T20s against the Black Caps in March, could also call off their trip given the self-isolation requirement.        



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Written by Bourbiza Mohamed

A technology enthusiast and a passionate writer in the field of information technology, cyber security, and blockchain

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