Reopening for vaccinated New Zealanders brought forward

Published: 28 February 2022

Today Cabinet decided to bring forward Step 2 of the border reopening for vaccinated New Zealanders to 11.59pm Friday 4 March 2022.

For MIQ, this means that all vaccinated travellers who are still in MIQ will be able to leave on Saturday. Managed isolation will remain for unvaccinated travellers, refugees and some community cases as needed. Further decisions are expected soon, including on the future of MIQ facilities. Decisions are yet to be taken on around how many or which facilities will be decommissioned. That’s something that’s being worked through.

MIQ has always operated in a rapidly changing environment, and MBIE is moving to the next phase in its evolution, by planning for the reduction of MIQ capacity. Today's Cabinet decision will result in a significant reduction in people who need to come to MIQ and we are now discussing the impact with our workers and partners, who have been on the frontline protecting New Zealanders from COVID-19 for almost 2 years.

There will be a role for our workforce in helping facilities through this transition. We will be working closely with our workers on what this will mean for them. The withdrawal of NZDF personnel, and workers from partner agencies, will align with the scaling down of facilities.

MIQ has played a critical role – initially, preventing Covid becoming widespread through communities while giving people a way to return home. More recently, it bought time to vaccinate as many people as possible so New Zealand could confidently face COVID-19.

The sacrifices made by returnees entering MIQ, and the workers who have cared for them, gave New Zealand the chance to build its defences and prepare for when COVID eventually got into the community.

The MIQ workforce has helped almost 230,000 travellers – more than the population of Wellington - return home. They have also cared for more than 3,600 community cases.

MIQ workers have been on the frontline, protecting us all during this global pandemic. They have done a really hard job and made a lot of personal sacrifices in order to keep the rest of us safe. We thank each and every one of them. We are committed to keeping our workers involved in the changes.

Read the Government media release on the Beehive website:

Self-isolation requirements removed; Step 2 brought forward(external link) — Beehive website