Jacinda Ardern appeared on ITV's Lorraine this morning to pitch New Zealand as a winter holiday destination for British tourists. Here she is pictured on the show today
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Jacinda Ardern has begged UK tourists to visit the country as it prepares to fully reopen its borders after more than two years of isolation.

The New Zealand Prime Minister did her best to sell her country as a winter sun holiday destination during an appearance on ITV’s Lorraine this morning.

Speaking on the show, Ms Ardern said people from the UK can already visit the country despite it being locked away from the rest of the world since March 2020. 

The Pacific island nation had gone into one of the world’s strictest lockdowns at the beginning of the Covid pandemic, restricting almost all travel in and out of the country.

Strict lockdowns were also imposed in the country in an effort to snuff out the virus as the New Zealand Labour Party politician implemented a ‘Zero Covid’ goal.

Despite fierce criticism from some in the country over the restrictions, Ms Ardern has repeatedly defended the rules, saying they saved lives.

Speaking on ITV’s Lorraine this morning she urged UK tourists to visit the country after it loosened rules so international travellers arriving after May 1 could do so without without quarantining. 

Jacinda Ardern appeared on ITV's Lorraine this morning to pitch New Zealand as a winter holiday destination for British tourists. Here she is pictured on the show today

Jacinda Ardern appeared on ITV’s Lorraine this morning to pitch New Zealand as a winter holiday destination for British tourists. Here she is pictured on the show today

There have been strict restrictions on who can enter New Zealand for more than two years. Pictured are mask-wearing travellers arriving at Auckland Airport

There have been strict restrictions on who can enter New Zealand for more than two years. Pictured are mask-wearing travellers arriving at Auckland Airport

Before then people from the UK could only enter the country under certain conditions, such as to see terminally ill loved ones, or on a student or critical worker visa. 

She said: ‘We’re actually already open, anyone in the UK you can travel now. I’ll put a plug in, your winter is our summer so make those plans.

Speaking to her Scottish host, she said: ‘Having being to Scotland though I can say summer is a little more summery in New Zealand, as much as I love places like Scotland. 

‘I would like to think I can be objective, it [New Zealand] is just the most beautiful place. 

‘What I love as well is you can get that combination of being in cities but then being in close proximity to nature, beaches, amazing walks, nature tourism and now food and wine – it’s hard to have a bad meal.’

Ms Ardern also defender her tough Covid rules, saying they helped save lives in her country.

‘We’re open and I think for everyone, there was no response to the pandemic that was without cost,’ she said. 

‘It was either an awful and horrific cost to human life, or as we predominantly felt the cost of it being hard for people to move around. 

‘You could come and go but we quarantined and because of quarantine it was limited space. 

How can I enter New Zealand from the UK? 

British nationals wanting to visit New Zealand do not require a visa. 

The UK has an agreement with the country so Britons can spend six months in the country without a visa.

However, there are currently several additional requirements. 

You will also need to get a New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA) before arriving as well as a conservation and tourism levy, costing a total of around £24.

New Zealand also demands proof visitors have been vaccinated. 

Only people with valid reasons not for having the vaccine, such as medical reasons or being a refugee, are exempt.

You will also have to take two rapid antigen tests (RATs) at least one and six days after you arrive and declare your results.

‘It was hard for everyone, but we came through it with much fewer hospitalisations and loss of life than most.’

When asked if she would have done anything different in hindsight, she said: ‘Of course. If you look back on something and you can’t think of something that you would have changed you’re probably not looking hard enough. 

‘So absolutely. But the overall strategy, no, because I know it saved lives, I know it did.’

According to the World Health Organisation New Zealand has seen 1.3 million cases of Covid since the beginning of the pandemic, resulting in 1,466 deaths. 

Most of these have come since February this year after an outbreak of the Omicron variant in the country.

Ms Ardern faced a slew of criticism from campaigners and members of the public after imposing strict Covid curbs since the start of the pandemic.

International borders were promptly closed on March 19, with a nationwide lockdown enforced on March 25 after 102 cases, and no deaths, were recorded in the country.

On June 8, the PM announced there had been no new community transmissions within the past fortnight and says she is ‘confident New Zealand has eliminated community transmission of Covid’.

But within two months, Auckland was placed under strict lockdown measures after just four new cases were recorded in the city area.

A draconian ‘Zero Covid’ goal was then implemented across the country, with New Zealand aiming to completely eradicate the virus from its shores.

But this policy was met with ridicule as the Delta variant ripped through the world in the summer of 2021, prompting a return to multiple weeks of lockdown for Auckland’s 1.7 million residents.

Critics slammed the return of draconian curbs on everyday life, pointing to the fact other countries have started to reopen despite reporting thousands of new cases.

MailOnline columnist Dan Wootton hit out at the ‘terror and paranoia’ that has enveloped New Zealand since implementing its drastic zero-Covid policy while the rest of the world learns to live alongside the virus.

His deeply personal column prompted support from a host of British and New Zealand readers, including former All Black star Zinzan Brooke, who tweeted: ‘Completely agree with Dan here’.

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