Fines up to $12,000 could be issued for those who do not comply with self-isolation requirements when the international border opens, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced.

New border reopening dates were released by the Government on Thursday, with vaccinated Kiwis offshore allowed to come home from various countries in a staggered approach, without having to go through MIQ.

The announcement came with a warning. Ardern said fines between $4000 and $12,000 could be issued if self-isolation requirements were breached.

The arrivals area at Auckland Airport. The arrivals area at Auckland Airport. (Source: Getty)


“When you move to self-isolation it does have a high level of personal responsibility involved,” she said. “We have made the decision to move to this phase at a time when New Zealand will be in a better position to deal with those who may breach the requirements that are in place.”

Ardern said the border opening was a “milestone we are ready for”.

Isolation requirements mean people would still have the same requirements as close contacts, needing to isolate for 10 days. It would drop down to seven days once New Zealand’s Covid cases rise and the close contact isolation requirement changes.

New Zealanders would be able to enter from Australia from 11.59pm February 27 and isolate at home. Then two weeks later at 11.59pm on March 13, New Zealanders could enter from the rest of the world.

They would all have to be vaccinated and isolate at home. Unvaccinated people would still need to go into MIQ.

Also on March 13, which was called ‘step 2’, border exemptions would be broadened for critical workers and skilled workers earning at least 1.5 times the median wage, and for the family members of highly skilled workers.

The Prime Minister also announced ‘step 3’, which was from April 12, which would see about 5000 more international students allowed in and temporary visa holders who still meet relevant visa requirements.

“Step 4 sees the biggest expansion yet and includes our Australian cousins and all other visitors and business travellers who can normally enter New Zealand without a visa,” Ardern said.