Australia and New Zealand to start quarantine-free travel

Phil Walter  Getty Images

The interview ended awkwardly when the Kiwi prime minister refused an invitation to sing along to a classic New Zealand hit from her childhood, Dave Dobbyn's Slice of Heaven.

Jacinda Ardern has brushed off participating in a cringeworthy singalong to Kiwi classic Slice of Heaven after expressing her delight in welcoming Australians back to New Zealand for the first time in more than a year.

The two national teams did travel between Australia and New Zealand past year, but had to quarantine for 14 days on either side of the journey.

About 1.5 million Australians used to visit New Zealand annually pre-Covid.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Tuesday confirmed that the corridor would open on April. 19, giving SANZAAR, New Zealand Rugby and Rugby Australia just over five weeks to ensure that the competition can begin as scheduled in the middle of May.

Chief Executive James Goodwin said the new arrangement would allow Australians and New Zealanders to reconnect.

"That is, safely opening up global travel to another country while continuing to pursue a strategy of elimination and a commitment to keeping the virus out", she told reporters.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said it was tremendous that the bubble would be open in time for Anzac Day.

This means that residents of both countries will be able to travel freely between each, without needing to quarantine for two weeks.

Qantas' new schedule will include year-round, direct flights to Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown, plus direct flights from Brisbane and Melbourne to Queenstown, usually only operated seasonally for the ski season peak.

Air New Zealand increased its schedule of flights from Monday, 19 April, with 23 return services between Auckland and Sydney as opposed to the four return flights now available.

Ardern has also outlined situations in which the travel bubble would remain in-tact, as well as situations in which it would be paused.

Given all Australian states except Western Australia are already open to NZ visitors, this will effectively mark the official opening of the much touted trans-Tasman bubble.

It followed PM Ardern warning passengers travelling to Australia to "plan for the possibility of travel being disrupted" if there is a COVID outbreak.

"If, however, a case was found that was not clearly linked to the border, and a state responded by a short lockdown to identify more information, we'd likely pause flights from that state in the same way we would stop travel into and out of a region in New Zealand as if it was going into a full lockdown".

Update 6/4/21: Currently Western Australia hasn't been included within the New Zealand travel bubble, travellers entering from New Zealand will have to face 14-days in hotel quarantine at their own expense.

"While the airline remains committed to Trans-Tasman flying when the market fully recovers, we are mindful of evolving border requirements which add complexity to our business as we push ahead with plans to grow our core domestic Australia operations".



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