Prime Ministers commit to trans-Tasman bubble
The Australia and New Zealand governments will introduce a trans-Tasman bubble as soon as it is safe to do so.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison have agreed to ease travel restrictions between Australia and New Zealand in order to create a “trans-Tasman COVID-safe travel zone".
The announcement was made after Jacinda joined Australia’s national Cabinet meeting via video call this morning.
The arrangement will be put in place once it is safe to do so and necessary health, transport and other protocols had been developed and met.
“Building on our success so far in responding to COVID-19, continuing to protect Australians and New Zealanders remains an absolute priority,” the Prime Ministers say in a joint statement.
“We will remain responsive to the health situation as it develops.”
Both Jacinda and Scott welcome the early interest of business leaders and other stakeholders in a trans-Tasman COVID-safe travel zone.
Officials will work closely with these groups, including the Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum, as planning is developed further, says the statement.
“A trans-Tasman COVID-safe travel zone would be mutually beneficial, assisting our trade and economic recovery, helping kick-start the tourism and transport sectors, enhancing sporting contacts, and reuniting families and friends.”
The statement says they will also explore opportunities to expand the concept to members of the broader Pacific family once they have established effective travel across the Tasman.
This will enable travel between Australia, New Zealand and Pacific island countries.
“We will work with interested Pacific countries on parameters and arrangements to manage the risks.”
The Prime Ministers say they need to be cautious as they progress the initiative.
“Neither country wants to see the virus rebound so it’s essential any such travel zone is safe.
“Relaxing travel restrictions at an appropriate time will clearly benefit both countries and demonstrates why getting on top of the virus early is the best strategy for economic recovery."
Both noted they have worked closely together on Australia’s and New Zealand’s respective border settings since the COVID-19 pandemic began.