For a country struggling with a deadly Delta outbreak, Australia isn't showing much sympathy for its expats.
Australians have to gain permission to leave the country during the country's pandemic travel ban.
Under new rules introduced last week, Aussies who usually live abroad but are visiting will need a "compelling reason" to return to their homes. There will no longer be an automatic exemption.
That means foreign-based Australians have to consider whether they can return for visits, while some in Australia will be unsure if they will be able to go back to the country they normally live in.
Australia isn't the refuge from Covid-19 it once was, with New South Wales setting daily records for community cases amid nearly 30 deaths, Victoria in a week-long lockdown, and a cluster in Queensland.
But the country keeps a tight rein on its own overseas-linked citizens, some of whom have had to sit out the pandemic in countries with much higher levels of coronavirus infection. They currently face getting out of the Covid frying pan into the fire.
Finance Minister Simon Birmingham said the government wanted to clamp down on people making short trips abroad from Australia which "puts additional pressure [on] managing the finite number of places ... for returning Australians".
In July, Australia decided to halve the number of international arrivals on commercial flights allowed into Australia to 3000 a week but is boosting repatriation flights to a Darwin quarantine facility.
The border and quarantine policies on both sides of the Tasman have been frustrating and messy for returnees and people here separated from their families. Kiwis have had widely reported trouble booking places in MIQ.
Neither country is as yet near allowing fully vaccinated people to travel with less severe restrictions than the current two weeks' quarantine.
But New Zealand looks closer to achieving the right conditions for it than Australia and more detail on a reopening plan is expected this week.
The Delta variant outbreak in Australia has caused a return of lockdowns and a renewed focus on the quarantine system there. The country has a blueprint to start easing border measures once it hits a 70 per cent vaccination target. Yet the outbreak clearly needs to be quelled first.
Here, barring a border breach, the equation is more straightforward - get the highest per centage of vaccine protection in the community as possible. Countries with a mix of partial and full vaccination rates of under 60 per cent have got into difficulties with the highly transmissable Delta.
With Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appearing opposed to vaccination incentives and coercion within the country, the border appears to be the place for extra carrot as reward for fully vaccinated people.
A switch to home isolation for Kiwis returning from travel and shorter MIQ stays for foreigners to come in would be important progress for next year.
Clearer border rules after vaccination would make coping with Covid easier for the longer term.