Resumption of New Zealand's travel bubble with Australia a 'fair way away' - COVID-19 Minister

Minister for COVID-19 Response Chris Hipkins has poured cold water on the idea of reopening of New Zealand's quarantine-free travel bubble with Australia any time soon, saying any discussions about it are "a fair way away".

Speaking at Wednesday's 1pm COVID-19 update, he said the Government was aware the initial timeframe given for the bubble closure wasn't far away, but that people need to be "realistic" about the situation.

"I think those New Zealanders who are in Australia should be making preparations to make bookings through MIAS, for example, to make bookings through MIQ when it's available," said Hipkins.

He said if anyone needs to come back for an emergency they should contact consular officials.

When asked if Kiwis should prepare for another year of border closures, Hipkins said "no", pointing to plans announced at the Reconnecting New Zealand seminar last month.

"We have acknowledged that we do want to be able to reconnect, and we do want to be able to provide for a greater amount of movement at the border than we are currently able to provide via MIQ."

"The Prime Minister set out a pilot for isolating at home and we will be endeavouring to proceed with that pilot before the end of the year," Hipkins said.

He said while MIQ is a key part of our border controls at the moment, it's unlikely to remain the only way to get into the country in the long term as borders start to open up.