With tougher COVID-19 border controls expected, Jacinda Ardern reveals why it's taken so long

With tougher border control measures expected to be announced, the Prime Minister has revealed why it has taken so long to implement, saying quarantining everyone must be done in a way that maintains their wellbeing. 

Speaking to The Rock on Thursday morning, Jacinda Ardern said she needs to ensure that quarantining everyone who comes through the border is done "properly" and that details about the Government's plans are "not too far away". 

"It is quite an exercise when people arrive at the border to put them up for two weeks, to make sure they've got all the food and provisions they need and look after their wellbeing," Ardern said. 

"You can imagine what it's like getting off a plane and being told sorry you can't go home we are taking you to the Jet Park Inn," she added, a nod to the Jet Park Hotel at Auckland Airport. 

The Prime Minister has been facing pressure to quarantine everyone coming through the border, as the current rules don't go that far: People returning only go into quarantine if they show symptoms of COVID-19, but even then they can leave the hotel to get food. 

Newshub's National Correspondent Patrick Gower has pleaded with the Prime Minister to quarantine everyone coming to New Zealand from overseas, and Ardern responded to him on Instagram on Wednesday night. 

"Hi Paddy. You might have heard me say on Monday morning that we are working on this already as we speak (it takes a bit of work to make sure we can quarantine potentially thousands of people properly and safely)," she said. 

"I'm expecting to share an update on that work this week. In the meantime, I should add that we are already quarantining many people, it's just about making it even more comprehensive."

Ardern told The Rock: "We had a little social media exchange... I think what he wants is me to have just announced it straight off the bat."

Newshub's political editor Tova O'Brien revealed on Wednesday night that under the new tough rules, she understands arrivals won't be able to leave the hotels the Government puts them up in for things like supermarket trips. 

It will be fully supervised quarantine by the Government - similar to what we saw with arrivals from Wuhan at Whangaparaoa Army Base in February, O'Brien reported. 

Pressure has been piling on the Government to move. A petition from National for mandatory quarantine received 40,000 signatures in 24 hours.

"The reality is, they've had weeks now to work this out," National leader Simon Bridges said on Wednesday. "I say to the Prime Minister: you need to work out how to do this quick, smart."

Ardern told The Rock she has been in frequent contact with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, to share their knowledge about how to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

"I'm talking to the Prime Minister of Singapore tonight, and I spoke to the Prime Minister of Sweden yesterday, so we're all in different places and there are things that we can share and learn from each other, and we do that a lot."