New Zealand to open international borders fully to visitors from end-July

FILE PHOTO - COVID-19 lockdown restrictions are eased in Auckland
FILE PHOTO - People prepare to go fishing from the Orakei Wharf as coronavirus disease (COVID-19) lockdown restrictions are eased in Auckland, New Zealand, November 10, 2021. REUTERS/Fiona Goodall

WELLINGTON, May 11 (Reuters) - New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Wednesday the country will fully reopen its international borders from 11:59 p.m. on July 31, with cruise ships also welcome back to local ports on the same day.

The end-July opening of the border is two months earlier than the government's previous time frame and will mean visitors who need visas will now be able to come to New Zealand.

Ardern said in a speech to a Business NZ lunch in Auckland that opening the borders would help to relieve urgent skills shortages, open up tourism and put immigration settings on a more secure footing.

"We are building on our proven plan to secure New Zealand's economic future," Ardern said.

Reporting by Lucy Craymer; Editing by Tom Hogue

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