Inter-regional travel around New Zealand will be allowed when the Government deescalates its coronavirus response to alert level 2, the Prime Minister has revealed.
Jacinda Ardern says this will "mean a lot" to the country's tourism industry, which has been decimated by stringent travel restrictions at alert levels 3 and 4.
The decision was taken after the Government noted that travel itself had only a small impact on COVID-19 transmission, Ardern told media at a press conference from the Beehive on Thursday.
"At the time of creating the alert level framework, our case numbers were limited," she said.
"We now know a lot about risk. We know, for instance, that so long as you play it safe when you travel, we can minimise the risks - it's what you do when you get there that is the problem.
"That's why at level 2, we will be allowing people to move around the country again, but to do it safely."
The Prime Minister says the Government's advice on travel now centres around what you'll be doing once you arrive at your destination.
"A trip from Wellington to Napier to see your mum is fine. A trip from Wellington to Napier to go to a big conference with an open bar is not fine."
Ardern predicts New Zealanders will relish the chance to support the tourism industry in the wake of the economic turmoil COVID-19 has caused.
At Thursday's press conference, she shared an email she'd received from a "wonderful Kiwi named Judith" who spoke of her desire to go on holiday somewhere in New Zealand once travel restrictions were lifted.
"A lot of Kiwis share this sentiment, but we need to support our tourism industry safely, to avoid us going back to square one."
Specific rules around travel are yet to be released on the Ministry of Health's COVID-19 website.
However, Ardern encourages Kiwis to keep a safe distance on public transport and at airports, manage their social-distancing, and remember the same practices apply regardless of where they go in the country.