The situation in relation to international travel and Covid-19 continues to evolve. See below for our latest update.
On Thursday 12 August, 2021 the Government set out its roadmap for reconnecting NZ to the world.
An overview of the key steps is attached and a full update can be found here - Government sets out plan to reconnect New Zealanders to the world | Unite against COVID-19 (covid19.govt.nz)
In summary, the Government is using the remainder of 2021 to continue to prepare for the operation of borders under this system. This work includes ongoing work on the development of a traveller health declaration system, investigating new testing technology for rapid testing on arrival at airports and reliable pre-departure testing as well as piloting self-isolation arrangements for some New Zealanders and strengthening other public health measures such as contact tracing.
Once enough people are vaccinated, the next step will be a phased introduction of an individual risk-based approach to border settings in 2022.
Low-risk, medium-risk and high-risk travel pathways will be created, and which pathway a traveller takes will be based on the risk associated with where they are coming from and their vaccination status. Each pathway will have testing and isolation requirements proportionate to that risk.
Low-risk travel pathway
The low-risk pathway will permit quarantine-free entry for vaccinated travellers who have been in low-risk countries.
Medium-risk travel pathway
The medium-risk pathway would include a combination of self-isolation and/or reduced managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) for vaccinated travellers who have been in medium risk countries.
High-risk travel pathway
The high-risk pathway will see the continuation of a full 14 days in MIQ and testing for unvaccinated travellers and any traveller, including vaccinated travellers, who have been in very high risk or high-risk countries.
To prepare for the medium-risk pathway, the Government will run a self-isolation pilot in the second half of this year to test processes and systems for the safe use of this tool. Businesses and organisations that need to send staff overseas will be invited to express interest in participating in the pilot which will run between October and December 2021. There has been significant interest around the risk-based travel pathways, home isolation pathways and the implications for the sport and recreation sector.
Sport NZ is active in these discussions, and we will let you know if there are any opportunities, however we would note that at this stage trial is available for businesses only, the numbers involved will be small and the criteria will be very tight.
Managed Isolation Quarantine Update
Although the official Government position is to advise people not to travel, we understand that travel is unavoidable for many of you. Demand is growing as vaccinated countries open their borders enabling the international sporting calendar to a return to a business as usual schedule.
There continues to be significant demand for managed isolation places, however at the same time the ability to secure MIQ for anyone other than large complex groups is extremely limited and the system is at capacity. We note the impact that this has on individual athletes who are unable to travel for critical qualifying or ranking events, the impact on mid-size NZ sports as they do not meet the thresholds for MIQ support for major events and our ability to host commercially successful events due to border restrictions.
Unfortunately, there remains no easy solution to this. The complications caused by the emergence of the Delta variant and the trans-Tasman travel pause have narrowed the options to applications for MIQ space via:
a) the public MIAS system; or
b) the group MIQ allocation application process
MIAS system - Managed Isolation and Quarantine (miq.govt.nz)
Accessing MIQ spaces through MIAS is really challenging at the moment as there is no availability, however we do understand that additional vouchers for September, October and November will be released imminently, and we expect December to also open soon as well.
We recommend that you:
- Create profiles on the MIQ booking site for all of your potential travellers, so that you are ready to book MIQ if dates do become available. The status of each profile will need to be ‘ready’ before you can book MIQ
- Be prepared with potential travel bookings
- Be flexible, as you may not be able to get the exact dates you want for MIQ
- Be prepared to take the available MIQ places as soon as they become available
This will require regularly checking the website. You will then have 48 hours to confirm flight bookings, to enter the flight booking reference which will secure your MIQ booking.
Sport NZ has no ability to influence the MIAS system, we have no vouchers and are unable to book MIAS on your behalf. If you are unable to secure MIQ you should not travel as your reasons for travel are unlikely to meet the criteria for Emergency allocations or time sensitive travel.
Group MIQ Allocation
The intent of the group allocation is to manage and plan for large and complex groups that are a government priority, for example, they frequently require bespoke or extra services while in MIQ.
This allocation is decided by the Border Exception Ministerial Group and has ranged from between 350 and 500 rooms per fortnight.
Sport NZ is the sponsoring agency for this process and we have had some success in securing allocations. All of those who have managed to secure group allocations for the current round should now have been notified. Successful applications will also be published on the MIQ website early next week.
Group MIQ allocations across government are now fully allocated until April 2022.
We will let you know when applications for April 2022 onwards are open.
Covid-19 vaccinations – changes to early vaccination process
The national vaccination programme is now well underway. Everyone aged 16 or older will be able to book appointments for COVID-19 vaccines from 1 September 2021.
Information about booking vaccines is published here: COVID-19: The vaccine rollout | Ministry of Health NZ.
Sport NZ had been supporting people to request early access to the COVID-19 vaccine, however this option has now been replaced with a new process. If individuals are unable to get vaccinated through the normal booking system in time to travel internationally, people can now apply for early access directly via an online questionnaire and a form that can be emailed directly to the Ministry of Health. Applications should be submitted at least eight weeks before travel.
To be eligible to request an early vaccine you will need to meet the following criteria:
- You need to travel overseas for one of the listed reasons. (These reasons include representing New Zealand in a major international event)
- You are at least 16 years old.
- You have a have a flight booked on or before 15 November 2021.
- There is time for you to have both doses before you travel, noting that the recommendation is now to allow 6 weeks between doses.
- You are able to provide supporting evidence for all requirements, including evidence of your confirmed flight booking with departure details and destinations.
More detailed information and the online questionnaire are available here: COVID-19:
Applying for an early vaccine for travel overseas | Ministry of Health NZ. Sport NZ will continue to assist with applications if there are problems with the new process, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.