New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says we need to move cautiously if we are to open a trans-Tasman travel bubble.
While many Aussies were excited at the prospect of being able to travel to New Zealand after the country achieved no active cases today, Ms Ardern hasn’t indicated when that is likely.
And Australia might have some competition, with New Zealand’s Pacific Islands neighbours also wanting the country to open up to them.
Ms Ardern said either way it had to be “two-way decision making, keeping in mind there are Pacific Island nations seeking the same open movement”, she said.
“Both sides need to make sure we’re confident we’re not risking each other’s status.”
Ms Ardern also said with new cases in Australia being reported in recent days, as well as recent community transmission, “we need to move cautiously”.
“No one wants to jeopardise the gains New Zealand has made,” she said.
Hospitality New Zealand chief executive Julie White welcomed the proposed loosening of borders to Australia or the Pacific Islands, saying it would provide “a much-needed opportunity for the hospitality and tourism sector”.
Ms Ardern pointed out borders remained closed at 15 of 17 comparable countries.
New Zealand will lift all coronavirus restrictions except its international border control from midnight tonight.
Last week, Ms Ardern hosed down hopes of an impeding travel bubble with Australia.
Canberra Airport opened a register for travellers to record their interest in flights between the city and Wellington from July but Ms Ardern said it was too soon.
“Australia is still dealing with cases, so just a little bit more progress is required,” she told reporters last week.
“It’s fair to say we are all eager, but we’re eager to do it safely.”
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison was asked if he would be “embarrassed” if Aussies could go to Queenstown before Queensland.
“If I can get more planes flying between Australia and New Zealand, if I can get more planes flying between Sydney and Brisbane and Cairns … then jobs in the aviation sector have got a much brighter future,” he said.
Domestic travel is slated for the third phase of the government’s plan to ease restrictions and it is expected all states will get there by July.