15 Jul 2021

Quarantine-free travel from Victoria to New Zealand paused

7:37 pm on 15 July 2021

Quarantine-free travel from Victoria to New Zealand will be paused from early tomorrow morning, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins has announced.

A shopper crosses the street in the central business district in Melbourne on July 7, 2021

A shopper crosses the street in the central business district in Melbourne on July 7, 2021 Photo: AFP

The pause will run for at least four days from 1.59am (NZT) Friday and will be reviewed on Monday.

Melbourne will go into a snap five-day lockdown from midnight tonight to curb the growing Covid-19 outbreak.

Premier Daniel Andrews said: "I am not prepared to avoid a five-day lockdown now, only to find ourselves in a five-week or a five-month lockdown."

Andrews said they made the decision determined to beat the Delta strain.

"This will be a hard lockdown ... identical to what we did a couple of weeks ago."

In a statement, Hipkins said the government acknowledged the "frustration and inconvenience" that came with any interruption to Trans Tasman travel, but "given the ongoing level of uncertainty around transmission in Melbourne, this is the right action to take".

The pause means anyone who has been in the state of Victoria after 1.59am on 16 July cannot travel to New Zealand from any state in Australia until further notice.

Travellers who are currently in Victoria should follow the instructions of Victorian authorities.

Anyone who has been at a location of interest in Melbourne cannot travel to New Zealand. Those who are travelling tonight must have had a negative pre departure test.

Anyone who has been in Melbourne in the last week but has now returned to New Zealand is being asked to monitor their health and be aware that the number of locations of interest there are increasing. They are able to check via the Victorian public health website.

The travel bubble from New South Wales remains paused and managed flights are still in place but those returning will have to go into managed isolation for 14 days after arriving in New Zealand.

Air NZ adjusts trans-Tasman schedule

Air New Zealand is adjusting its trans-Tasman schedule, due to the pause to quarantine-free travel from Victoria.

Flights are on hold from just before 2am tomorrow morning.

Air New Zealand is operating two flights tonight as planned, but subsequent passenger flights from Melbourne to New Zealand will be cancelled for the next four days.

A reduced number of passenger flights will operate to Melbourne, to ensure people currently visiting New Zealand from Victoria can return home.

Airline spokesperson Leanne Geraghty said affected customers who have booked directly with Air New Zealand can change their booking online with no change fee, or put their ticket into credit.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs