It looks like a topical South Pacific bubble between NZ and the Cook Islands could happen very soon, with The Cook Islands government expecting to confirm a “travel bridge” within the next week.
The ‘travel bridge’ would allow people to travel between New Zealand and the Cook Islands freely, and follows a meeting between Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Henry Puna last night.
Cook Islands Deputy Prime Minister, Mark Brown, has said that there’s a desperate need for tourism in the country, which is COVID-19 free.
Tourism and more
Cook Islands Deputy Prime Minister, Mark Brown, expressed urgency with the traveling bridge between the two countries, stating that it’s imperative the agreement is implemented sooner rather than later, noting that almost half of the Cook Island’s working population is currently on a wage subsidy, which will come to an end in September.
Aside from the nation’s economy being heavily reliant on tourism, the health of the island residents is also an important point to consider, with many of them travelling to New Zealand for medical services, elective surgeries and cancer check-ups.
However, a statement from Jacinda Ardern’s office suggests no timeline has been established, and details are still being worked out, with a spokesperson for Ardern saying “the number one priority will continue to be the safety of both New Zealand and Realm countries. No one wishes to be responsible for COVID entering into the Pacific.”
Watch this space for more information.
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