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The AUS/NZ Trans-Tasman 'Travel Bubble': Could It Really Be Happening?

Last week we reported on confirmed talks of opening up an exclusive Trans-Tasman travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand. Today we took another baby step forward thanks to PM Scott Morrison.

Last week we reported on confirmed talks of opening up an exclusive Trans-Tasman travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand. Today we took another baby step forward thanks to PM Scott Morrison.

In a press briefing today, the PM Morrison acknowledged there had been discussions with New Zealand about potentially allowing Australians to travel there.

“I can’t see international travel occurring anytime soon, the risks there are obvious,” Mr Morrison said.

“The only exception to that … is potentially with New Zealand, and we have had some good discussions about that.”

PM Morrison

On Sunday, Australia Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton had told Sky News that “an arrangement with New Zealand” would be one of the first things to examine, in regards to “steps toward making sure that people could travel safely,” but also said it would be “very hard to see” opening borders with the U.S. or U.K. “at this time.”

“New Zealand would be the natural partner,” he said, later adding that he thinks it would be “logical in the short-to-medium term.”

While nothing is still official at this stage, today’s announcement follows on from the New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters who confirmed last week that there are behind the scenes discussions happening about a possible bubble.

“Yes, we are exploring that,” he said during an interview with ABC Breakfast last week.

He commented that both countries had “similarly declining cases of the virus”.

“We are part of the wider Pacific where we don’t seem to have the kind of chaos that you’re getting in other parts of the world because of Australia’s and New Zealand’s influence in this part of the world at the same time.

New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters

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Roys Peak. Image: Paula May/Unsplash

“So thinking out loud, if we can get this system going with equivalence and where we represent a safeguard for both countries then it is something that we can in the long term be working on.”

There have also been calls for ‘the bubble’ to include the South Pacific, who also have suffered very low coronavirus cases and rely heavily on tourism as a primary industry.

The concept would be a stride forward in helping the tourism industry get back on to its feet in all countries.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, however, is still not making any promises or has given any timeline, but today’s news is another positive step to getting us over the ditch.