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'World-leading' trans-Tasman travel bubble 'the start of new chapter,' Jacinda Ardern says

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has called this afternoon's announcement of a trans-Tasman bubble the "start of a new chapter in our Covid response and recovery".

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The Prime Minister said she knows many will welcome the new travel options like she has. Source: 1 NEWS

Quarantine-free travel will resume under a traffic light system from 11.59pm on Sunday, April 18.

Under the system, flights to and from the affected Australian states can be paused for 72 hours or longer if necessary if Covid-19 cases are discovered from an unknown source.

"This is an exciting day," she said this afternoon in a joint press conference with Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins.

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Full details: The traffic light system managing trans-Tasman travel when bubble opens up

"The trans-Tasman bubble represents the start of of a new chapter in our Covid response and recovery - one that people have worked so hard for and that makes New Zealand and Australia relatively unique.

"I know families. friends and significant parts of our economy will welcome it, as I know I certainly do.

"I cannot see or point to any countries in the world that are maintaining a strategy of keeping their countries completely Covid-free whilst opening up to international travel between each other, that means that in a way we are world-leading, that's something I think both countries should be proud of and I think we're doing it at exactly the right time."

Ardern did offer a reassurance to those concerned about the added risk that comes with New Zealand's borders opening. She said the Government's "number one priority" in making their decision was "public safety".

"We have made sure that we have taken the time to get it right, that we have precautions and protocols in place to prepare for any scenario that may occur in New Zealand and Australia, and safety will continue to guide our decisions around the way this bubble operates."