Border shake-up: What you need to know

A huge shake-up to the way New Zealand’s international border operates is set for 2022, waving goodbye to MIQ for vaccinated Kiwis in a staged approach.

A flight attendant and passenger on board a plane.

From Australia

From January 17, 2022, fully vaccinated NZ citizens, residence-class visa holders and other travellers eligible under current settings can come from Australia to New Zealand without going through MIQ and instead go through seven days of home isolation.

From the world

From February 14, 2022, fully vaccinated NZ citizens, residence-class visa holders and other travellers eligible under current border settings can visit from most other countries, except those considered 'very high risk', and go through the home isolation requirement.

From April 30, 2022, New Zealand is set to open back up to international visitors in stages, possibly based on their visas, and will also need to go through isolation.

Covid-19 Response Minister Hipkins said people shouldn’t expect travel in 2022 to be the same as in pre-pandemic times.

He said the border would open in three steps and all travellers (from Australia and the rest of the world) who were not required to go through MIQ would still need a negative pre-departure test, proof of vaccination, travel history declaration, a day 0/1 test, a final negative Covid test and seven days of home isolation.

NZ to drop five countries from ‘very high risk’ list

On top of the border announcement, New Zealand also dropped Indonesia, Pakistan, Brazil, India and Fiji from the ‘very high risk’ list. Papua New Guinea is the only country still on the list.

It means New Zealand residents would be able to fly directly into the country, without the need to spend 14 days in a third country from December.

Opposition reaction

ACT and the National Party compared the Government to the Grinch that stole Christmas, after the latest MIQ announcement.

National leader Judith Collins and the party’s spokesperson for Covid-19 Chris Bishop both said Christmas has been ruined for many families and that MIQ should end now.

David Seymour said there was no longer any “logic” to restricting the freedoms of New Zealanders, or other citizens, to entering the country.

In response to being called a Grinch, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the Government has a responsibility "to make sure that New Zealanders have the Christmas they deserve".

"That does mean that we will act very cautiously as we move to reopen New Zealand and make changes at the international border.

It comes as the border is set to lift for Auckland on December 15, after the whole country moves to the new traffic light system on December 3.