“Other countries say you can’t even go to events unless you’re vaccinated.
“That’s not what we’re doing. We want high rates of vaccination but that’s not the way we want to try and encourage it.
“But when it comes to movement around the world, increasingly we will see countries say you can’t come in unless you’re vaccinated, so we are working on documents trying to identify people who have been vaccinated so you can move around.”
Health Minister Chris Hipkins had earlier said vaccine passports would be “almost an inevitability” within the next year, while Air New Zealand has confirmed it is already one of many airlines trialling the IATA travel pass initiative.
Qantas late last month confirmed it would introduce a digital health pass that would show whether a passenger was Covid-free and fit to fly when regular international travel returns, news.com.au reported.
Many other destinations Australians travelled to – including the UK, US and Canada – required proof of vaccine or negative Covid results as a condition of quarantine-free entry. However, entry requirements varied.
Some countries required “health passes”, mandatory proof of vaccination or a negative test, including for indoor events like sports games and concerts, and hospitality.
One country was France, which had mandated health passports for visitors to major domestic attractions such as the Eiffel Tower, and would soon make it mandatory for people to visit bars and restaurants, sparking outrage amongst its residents.
In Britain, the Royal Society has warned of the potential of vaccine passports to restrict the freedoms of some individuals, or to create a distinction between individuals based on health status.
Previously vaccination was not a requirement of the quarantine-free transtasman bubble with New Zealand.
The New Zealand travel bubble was suspended for eight weeks from July 24.
It’s unclear what the Government’s stance would be once that ends in September.
Across the ditch, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australia would introduce vaccine passports for international travellers.
“We will recognise and adopt the Commonwealth’s existing digital Medicare vaccination certificate that is automatically generated for every vaccination,” he said.
“That is something that is already there now. By the end of the month, it will be at another level which would see it being able to be incorporated in things like Apple Wallets and the like. We will put in place a digital vaccination authentication at the border.”