March 22, 2021
The government has been facing increasing pressure to open up the quarantine-free travel arrangement between New Zealand and Australia.
Speaking after the cabinet meeting today, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern did not confirm a date for trans-Tasman travel. She did, however, say that the government will announce the commencement date for the travel bubble on 6 April.
When asked why the details of the travel arrangement have not yet been finalised, Ardern said it is a “complex” issue working on a state-by-state basis.
“We now have to deal with different circumstances in different states,” she said.
Specific details in the arrangement the government is working out include contact tracing requirements, arrangements on testing, framework for an alert-level system based on different states, what would happen to people offshore in the event of an outbreak and expectations on airlines.
She did say she is confident the travel bubble will be open in the near future. “I expect the opening to be soon.”
This past week, Air New Zealand announced they will resume flying to nine Australian cities once quarantine-free travel is available both ways, while adding a new destination, Hobart.
As to the Pacific travel bubble, Ardern says she will be meeting with Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown in Auckland on Thursday to discuss the details.