Australia yet to reopen borders to New Zealanders as end of 72 hour suspension looms

The sudden decision to shut the border for at least 72 hours was unexpected.
The sudden decision to shut the border for at least 72 hours was unexpected. Photo credit: Newshub

Australia's decision to extend Green Zone travel from New Zealand is being left to the final hour.

On Thursday morning, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Australian authorities were being kept in the loop with COVID-19 case developments.

"As you would expect we are providing information to counterparts in Australia. The decision is for them," she said.

However Newshub understands that Australia's Prime Minister is still waiting and there have been delays getting hold of the information.

There are flights due to depart Auckland's International Airport on Thursday evening when the 72 hour suspension ends. However, if the Australian Government chooses to extend it, only the Australians booked on the flight will be able to leave and will have to pay $3000 for quarantine.

The sudden decision to shut the border was made on Tuesday. 

Australia's Health Minister said it was made with an "abundance of caution'' after one case of the South African strain was detected in Northland.

Passengers on the first flight out were caught by surprise just minutes before boarding.

One passenger, who wishes to remain anonymous, spoke to Newshub about the ordeal.

"I decided to continue on. I really had nowhere to go and my father - who is here in Australia - told me to stay on the flight and deal with everything once in Sydney," she said.

However she says all the luggage was removed as it was too difficult to separate it.

"Now I'm here in Sydney and my two suitcases with what's left of Kiwi life are still somewhere in Auckland."

The passenger also told Newshub she wasn't happy being told she'll have to pay the $3000 fee to quarantine in a hotel.

"I personally don't think that is fair as I did everything right, made sure I had a green flight and did all the necessary paperwork. Not happy at all."

Air New Zealand has a flight scheduled to depart for Sydney at 6:15pm and a Qatar Airways flight to Doha via Brisbane departs at 8pm.