The trans-Tasman bubble could still happen, but it’s reliant on Australia making some decisions.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday that the next steps for the Covid-19 bubble lay with our neighbours. She said New Zealand’s goal remains keeping Kiwis safe.
“Ultimately, it’s up to Australia to decide whether or not they’ll go for a whole of country approach or a state-by-state approach.
“Nothing from New Zealand’s perspective has changed, we’ve always said we will not move to open a trans-Tasman bubble until we have reassurances that New Zealanders will be safe.”
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She said it wasn’t unrealistic to think the bubble might get off the ground this year, but so much was riding on Australia’s decisions.
If it did progress, Ardern hinted that some parts of the country that may be off the table.
“Where there is community outbreak, that is a no-go for New Zealand.
“Where they have border controls in place and where they’ve had no community transmission for sustained periods of time then that may be a different scenario.”
The National leader said the country’s economy would not be recognisable if the borders were still closed in 12 to 18 months.
Victoria is experiencing a spike in community transmission – 75 new cases were confirmed on Monday, the state’s highest one-day jump in almost three months.
There are 288 active cases in Victoria.
In comparison, Queensland had two active cases on Friday, one of which was a patient medically evacuated from Papua New Guinea to Brisbane.
Of the state’s 1067 confirmed cases, 1035 were international or interstate travellers or close contacts of a confirmed case.
There are 670 active cases across Australia.
Like New Zealand, all arrivals into Australia are required to complete 14-day managed isolation or quarantine, and there are various restrictions regarding interstate travel.
Some states have introduced paid isolation and quarantine scheme.
For example, in Queensland from July 1, arrivals are required to pay the cost of isolation, rather than the government.
For one person, a 14-day stay with food will cost A$2800 ($2993), while three adults and three children in two rooms will cost $7875 ($8420).
Similar schemes are being discussed in New Zealand, but would likely only apply to Kiwis who had decided to travel overseas, not those living abroad and trying to return home.
At the moment, flights coming across the Tasman are carrying international travellers who use Australia as a stopover, as well as returning Kiwis.
Ardern suggested New Zealand’s arrival system would need to be changed to accommodate passengers arriving from different parts of the world.
The prime minister wouldn’t put a timeframe on any bubble, instead noting that more work needed to be done to ensure a safe implementation.
“I wouldn’t want to put a date on it … there’s a bit of work still to be done.”
The proposed bubble – if it went ahead – would likely allow Kiwis and Australians to travel without the need for mandatory isolation or quarantine on arrival.