Jacinda Adern rejects Trans-Tasman travel bubble

Air New Zealand aircraft at Sydney Airport

"If we delay this by a matter of months or indeed four to six weeks beyond July 1, you're guaranteeing significant bankruptcy in the tourism sector that could be averted", said Stephen Byron, Canberra Airport managing director.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said opening up the border between New Zealand and Australia would take both Governments to "tick that off".

New Zealand officials have said Cook Islands and Niue could potentially join Australia in a safe travel "bubble" with New Zealand - the first such travel bubble in the world.

The Australian and New Zealand Tourism Working group can also be growing plans to set up a trans-Tasman bubble that will likely be thought of by each nations' governments.

"Neither Canberra Airport [nor] Wellington Airport [are] taking many, if any, repatriation flights, so they're effectively clean terminals which means there isn't the co-mingling of passengers and there's far less risk to other security and border staff", Thomson said.

Before the Covid-19 outbreak, Australia was the most popular overseas travel destination for Kiwis, while New Zealand was the most popular offshore destination for Australians. "As one of the safest destinations in Australia, Canberra is ready and willing to accept travellers under a Trans-Tasman arrangement".

Canberra Airport has no involvement with the safe border group.

The Wellington Chamber of Commerce and Auckland Business Chamber have additionally thrown their weight behind the proposal.

New Zealanders arriving in Australia would be told to download the government's COVIDSafe app, which tracks coronavirus cases.

"New Zealand needs Aussies back here as our single most important visitors, all 1.5 million of them, supporting our tourism sector, our cafes and events decimated by the enforced shutdown".

Australia's Trade and Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham told the Australian he was confident the move would work.

Passengers will be able to travel around once they land but would have to follow local restrictions, including state border closures in Australia.

Both Australia and NZ closed their borders to worldwide visitors in mid-March to stop the spread of COVID-19 from overseas.

Prior to the pandemic, only 20 per cent of Australians wanted to travel within Oceania, which included NZ.

Auckland Business Chamber chief executive Michael Barnett said the proposal was developed to help build momentum and give confidence the countries can get back to business.

Should Canberrans start packing their bags for a quick trip across the ditch to New Zealand?

"We feed each other and we need each other's dollars urgently to help with economic recovery", Mr Barnett said.

The Canberra-Wellington flights are proposed as a way to prove systems and processes are in place for safe and effective movement of people between the two countries.



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