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The New Zealand-Australia ‘Travel Bubble’ Could Arrive Before Christmas

By Jack Saddler

The New Zealand-Australia ‘Travel Bubble’ Could Arrive Before Christmas

Travel plans might just be reignited this year!

A “travel bubble” between New Zealand and Australia could be with us by the end of the year. Prime Minister Jacina Ardern confirmed that movement between New Zealand and some Australian states without quarantine could still take place in 2020.

Following the lockdown of both nations six months ago, trans-Tasman travel across the sea has been heavily restricted. But, some of Jacina Ardern’s comments indicate this could soon change.

Speaking to TVNZ, she said that the Australian government’s change in approach “does open up opportunities” for travel between the two countries without a period of isolation.

“Previously they wanted a whole of Australia approach and we said that would slow things down,” Ardern continued. “They’re now moving to a hotspot regime where certain parts (of Australia) won’t be able to be part of free movement between Australia and across the Tasman.

“We’re working through the differences that would make for New Zealand and the arrangements we would need to ensure that if we’re opening up to one state that border is contained to ensure its safe for New Zealanders.”

Right now, New Zealand only allows citizens who normally reside there enter, and have a mandated two-week quarantine.

Simon Birmingham, Australian trade minister, also supports the idea of the bubble due to New Zealand’s strong record with keeping Covid-19 cases to a minimum.

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“We’re making sure we have all the work done, all the preparations there, so that we can safely achieve that bubble with New Zealand,” he said.

“It’s up to them as to whether they choose to open up to Australia, but we’re certainly making sure that we’re prepared and I’m hopeful that could be this year and then maybe set a model for us to look at for any other countries that meet similar high standards.”

Jacina Ardern confirmed it was “possible” to see the bubble in place with a number of Australian states – including Queensland – by Christmas.

“What we’d need to be assured of is when Australia is saying ‘we’ve got a hotspot over here’ that the border around that hotspot means we aren’t able to travel into the states we are engaging with on trans-Tasman travel.”

Reports have suggested travel may restart with flights between Auckland and Adelaide, but full confirmation has not yet been provided.

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