New Zealanders are not allowed to travel to Australia or New Zealand while they are on their Christmas holidays, and the government has issued an unprecedented ban on all travel to the continent, including the holiday islands of Easter Island and Christmas Island.
The ban is the most severe in New Zealand history, and comes as Australia is set to reopen its border with Papua New Guinea this weekend to allow asylum seekers and refugees from the country to enter.
In a statement, the New Zealand government said it had “reinstated the ban on Christmas Island and Easter Island”.
The announcement comes after Australia announced it would open its borders to refugees and asylum seekers this weekend.
The ban will come into effect from Thursday, when Australia begins its first full week of immigration detention.
New Zealanders on the island of Easter have been told they must leave the island, as part of the island’s restrictions on immigration, for the next three weeks, according to the Associated Press.
Australia has been in talks with Papua new Guinea to open its border to refugees after New Zealand reopened its border, but the plan is being questioned after the Papua New Guinean government said they would refuse to take refugees in.
A PNG government spokesperson told AP that the country has been cooperating with the New York State Department of Homeland Security, the United Nations Refugee Agency and other agencies to help the government cope with the influx of refugees.
But Australia’s Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has warned that Australia will be unable to handle the situation of refugees in Papua New Grace, as the New Zealander’s Department of Immigration has no capacity to deal with them.
“We can’t deal with the number of asylum seekers, refugees, and people arriving on Christmas islands on Christmas Day,” Mr Morrison told ABC radio.
ABC News’ Kate Kelly, Alex Hochberg, and Jonathan Green contributed to this report.