Hipkins also said fully vaccinated New Zealanders can travel to New Zealand from all other countries, except Very High-Risk regions, from February 13.
Cruise ship ban
However, there is still no decision on when New Zealand will lift its ban on international cruise ships.
Moving to normality
‘It’s very encouraging that as a country we are now in a position to move towards greater normality,’ Hipkins said.
'Some people and businesses want us to start to open up before Christmas, and that’s understandable, but others want us to be more cautious.
‘We acknowledge it’s been tough, but the end of heavily restricted travel is now in sight.
‘There continues to be a global pandemic, with cases surging in Europe and other parts of the world, so we do need to be very careful when reopening the border.
‘In the end, we’ve done what we’ve always done, and that is to follow expert advice which continues to show us the border is our biggest risk for new cases.
‘A phased approach to reconnecting with the world is the safest approach to ensure risk is carefully managed.
‘This reduces any potential impacts on vulnerable communities and the New Zealand health system.'