COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor announced today that the first stage of one-way quarantine-free travel with Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu will commence in October, initially for RSE workers from those countries. “We want to provide certainty to the horticulture industry that we are moving forward with safe quarantine-free travel for RSE workers in time for the upcoming picking season,” O’Connor said.
“We need to take a cautious approach to opening up quarantine-free travel with the Pacific. While Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu haven’t had any community cases of COVID-19 we know first-hand how quickly Delta can spread if it gets in,” Hipkins said.
Up to 14,400 RSE workers normally come through New Zealand each year, with approximately 10,500 being in the country at peak harvesting times pre-COVID.
Officials in New Zealand are working with partner Pacific countries and the industry on the final measures that need to be in place, with exact flight dates in October to be confirmed.
- One-way quarantine-free travel for Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) workers from Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu starts in October
- New requirement for RSE workers to have received their first vaccination pre-departure, undertake Day 0 and Day 5 tests, and complete a self-isolation period of seven days, pending a negative Day 5 result
Image credit: New Zealand High Commission Vanuatu