Newshub-Reid Research poll: 7 in 10 believe vaccinated, COVID-negative Kiwis should be able to skip MIQ

It's bye-bye managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) and hello world from early next year. 

The Government is throwing open the borders, first to Kiwis then foreigners. Australia is first, with double vaccinated Kiwis there able to come home from 11:59pm on January 6. 

Kiwis in other countries will be welcome from February 13, and fully vaccinated foreigners can come to New Zealand from April 30. 

While MIQ will go, arrivals will still need to self-isolate for seven days and they'll need a negative pre-departure test. 

But critics of the Government have labelled it the Grinch who stole Christmas. 

Jonathan Mackie is one of the tens of thousands of victims of MIQ roulette. After eight failed attempts, the Government's announcement on Wednesday means he can finally come home.

"It changed everything for me today. I'm just wanting to dance around," he told Newshub. 

When his father's partner passed away he stayed in Cairns to support his old man. Jonathan hasn't seen children since July. Nine and five years old, they're missing their dad.

"I've had countless tears and tissues."

COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins acknowledged the frustration. 

"We acknowledge that it has been very tough," he said on Wednesday, but batted off questions about whether the Government truly understands. 

"Yes I do," he said. "This isn't about me."

The date for Kiwis and their families to come home from Australia falls three weeks after Christmas.

"What's the difference? The difference is, what?" asks National leader Judith Collins. "Basically, Jacinda Ardern is the Grinch who has stolen Christmas from many Kiwi families."

ACT leader David Seymour was also critical. 

"There is no difference in risk between opening up to Australia now and in January," he told reporters. 

Hipkins said it's a balancing act. 

"Some people and businesses want us to open up before Christmas and that is very understandable. Others want us to be more cautious and take even longer."

Hardly, minister. Very few Kiwis actually want it to take longer. They back it now, and not just for Kiwis in Australia.

The latest Newshub-Reid Research poll asked: "Should double vaccinated, negative-tested returning Kiwis be allowed to skip MIQ and isolate at home?"

A very strong majority, 73.1 percent, said yes. Just 19.8 percent said no, and very few didn't know. 

"That is the sort of thing that could potentially see an exponential growth in cases," Hipkins said. "As we do this, there'll be significantly more movement at the border."

To come home and self-isolate, Kiwis will need to be double vaccinated, have a negative pre-departure test and provide their recent travel history. If you don't tick those boxes, it's back to MIQ for you.

Eventually the Government sees no need for any self-isolation, and that April date for tourists could be brought forward.

"We've locked in those first two," Hipkins said. "I think people can make plans on the basis of those first dates."

That also means there's no chance of Kiwis in Australia, or anywhere else, self-isolating sooner.

"In the past, all of our returnees have been coming to Auckland. With the changes that we will be making, they will be returning to all parts of New Zealand," said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. 

Yes, but Aucklanders coming from the epicentre will also soon be able to travel to all parts of New Zealand - and in time for Christmas too.