Here we go again! Only this time it’s starting to sound a lot more promising with serious talk of a travel bubble being in place with New Zealand before Christmas. Yes, really!
After all the hype of a Trans-Tasman bubble beginning prior to Victoria’s second wave in July, it appears that more concrete looking plans are now taking shape and the momentum is building.
Speaking to The Today Show this morning, New Zealand’s deputy prime minister Winston Peters said that the country was “raring to go”, and that it would be a welcome boost for tourism on both sides of the Tasman.
“We have never given up hope on the bubble plan. We are raring to go and the sooner to get going the better.” He said.
Asked if the bubble could be happening in time for Christmas, Mr Peters said, “I think it is capable of happening much, much sooner than that.”
It’s believed the Trans-Tasman bubble could initially work to enable residents of the South Island in New Zealand to travel to New South Wales in the coming weeks, with Australians being allowed to travel to New Zealand before Christmas.
“We have worked on it very staunchly for a long time and the real issue is whether or not we can ensure that the protocols work for both countries,” said Mr Peters.
Meanwhile, over the ditch, New Zealand Prime minister Jacinda Ardern said in an interview with TVNZ1’s Breakfast this morning: “We did suggest it would be up to them (Australia), but if they did move state by state, that might free things up a little sooner,”
Asked specifically if state bubbles could be open before Christmas, Ms Ardern said: “it is possible”.
On Sunday, Federal Trade, Tourism and Investment Minister Simon Birmingham told Channel Nine’s Today Show he was ‘really hopeful’ that Australians would be able to travel to New Zealand by the end of 2020.
“We’re working hard to make sure every safety precaution and measure is in place through our airports, our border protections, screening processes, to make sure people can travel safely between Australia and New Zealand without risk of encountering other air travellers that may be coming in from higher-risk countries,” Mr Birmingham said.
“Ultimately, whether New Zealand opens up to Australia will be a matter for New Zealand, but we are working to make sure we’re ready and hopefully we can see those steps taken this year.”
Simon Birmingham, Federal Trade, Tourism and Investment Minister
The bubble green light will still depend on establishing coronavirus tracing protocols and other systems, especially given Melbourne and Auckland’s second COVID-19 outbreaks.
Here’s hoping the Trans-Tasman bubble talk goes some way to accelerating the South Pacific’s push for reciprocal bubbles to open soon too.
Time to dust off the passports? This time, the bubble could finally be for real.
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