Jacinda Ardern says New Zealanders thinking of travelling to Australia, if a trans-Tasman travel bubble is established, would still have to quarantine on return as it stands at the moment.
“In our view, we're not ready to have quarantine-free travel with Australia,” the Labour leader said.
“Even if Australia, and we’ve acknowledged that they may, open up the borders one-way for New Zealanders to go in without quarantine, that doesn’t mean they won’t have to go into quarantine on return.
“In fact, at this stage, they will.”
Ardern said the reason New Zealand isn't ready for quarantine-free travel was because Australia had a “very different strategy” than New Zealand when tackling the pandemic.
“We will not open the borders for quarantine-free travel with Australia until it is safe to do so because doing it too early risks losing all the freedoms that we already have in our economy.”
Ardern encouraged Kiwis to spend money in New Zealand instead.
On Wednesday, Ardern told Australian media work was underway to get the travel bubble in place.
She said it was up to Australian authorities to answer questions about how they would manage Covid-19 “hotspots”.
This meant that New Zealand needed to be sure that people in the “hotspots” wouldn’t be able to fly across the Tasman.
Insisting on this would mean Australians who visited New Zealand would be able to move around freely, she said.
Ardern said she was also open to consider opening travel bubbles with specific states, but that this decision was up to Australian authorities.