Jacinda Ardern told a press conference that was streamed live on her Facebook page that while a date hasn’t been announced for a two-way travel ‘bubble’, she believes it will be in the first quarter of next year.
“It is our intention to name a date for the commencement of trans-Tasman quarantine free travel in the new year, once remaining details are locked down,” she said.
“But I think, for now, New Zealanders by and large appreciate the approach of the government to ensure that we are not taking on an unnecessary risk as we’re going into the summer.
“We’ve never been wanting to put specific dates prematurely before we’ve made final decisions because people make plans, people book flights and people may potentially have quarantine bookings that they could cancel.
“We don’t want anyone to do that prematurely until we have certainty around when it will open.”
Ardern said the decision is dependant on whether Australia manages to go 28 days without a community transmission and would continue to be once the border is open.
The announcement is consistent with predictions made by both Tourism New Zealand and Air New Zealand during the Travel Daze symposium this year.
However, it may thwart Qantas CEO Alan Joyce’s premonition that a vaccine would kick-start international travel before travel ‘bubbles’ eventuate.
Ardern has previously warned that Aussies wouldn’t be permitted to travel to New Zealand this year, and also said it was incidents like the outbreak scares in South Australia that cemented her decision.
In other travel ‘bubble’ news, New Zealand’s PM and Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brow agreed on an arrangement to set up two-way, quarantine-free travel between the two destinations.
“The arrangement recognises the special ties between New Zealand and the Cook Islands. It will allow people to travel more easily between our two countries while acknowledging that the priority remains to protect our populations from COVID-19,” Ardern said.
Both Prime Ministers and their cabinets have instructed officials to continue working together to put in place all measures required to safely recommence two-way quarantine-free travel in the first quarter of 2021.
With NZ on the travel cards and NZ having its bubble with the Cook Islands, those wantng a beach resort style holiday , outside Australia, now have an option.