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Ardern to dial into national cabinet and discuss trans-Tasman bubble

written by Adam Thorn | May 4, 2020
A pair of Air New Zealand Boeing 787-9 at Auckland Airport. (Rob Finlayson)
A pair of Air New Zealand Boeing 787-9 at Auckland Airport. (Rob Finlayson)

The prospect of trans-Tasman flights restarting moved a step closer after it was confirmed New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will dial into Australia’s national cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

On the weekend, New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters hinted a deal could happen, calling the countries “two of the most integrated economies in the world”.

Ardern will join the call for at least half an hour, which will include representatives from all of Australia’s states and territories.

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Prime Minister Scott Morrison has previously said the meeting would be used to discuss a partial lifting of coronavirus restrictions, with an announcement to come later this week.

Minister Peters has been a long-time advocate of the plan, and on the weekend said, “Officials in both countries are considering all aspects of the trans-Tasman concept, and planning how this could happen more broadly. A trans-Tasman bubble needs to be carefully managed as we move out our COVID-19 restrictions.”

Last week, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton added to the speculation by remarking that the countries were at a “comparable stage” in their fight against coronavirus.

Previously, Prime Minister Scott Morrison raised hopes that international travel with Australia’s closest neighbour could start well before other countries.

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“If there is any country in the world with whom we can reconnect with first, undoubtedly that’s New Zealand,” he said.

On 27 March, Prime Minister Morrison announced that all passengers landing in Australia would be transferred from arrivals to a hotel to complete their 14-day isolation period – with the Defence Force checking people comply with the measures.

This was in addition to a ban on anyone arriving in the country who was not a citizen or permanent resident, as well as an effective ban on any Australian leaving the country.

Back then, it was estimated that 85 per cent of cases of coronavirus arrived directly or indirectly from overseas. The subsequent action caused a dramatic reduction in the number of cases in Australia.

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18 Comments

  • Ron Hunter

    says:

    Hope this comes about. But wary of the conditions.
    It could take five weeks to fly to NZ for a wedding if we have to be in 14 day quarantine at both ends. Suggest that a clear certificate , not more than 14days old , is required from the passengers .
    Ron Hunter

  • Andrew Grey

    says:

    If they are going to do it for N.Z, then extend it to the Pacific Islands and PNG, all off which have had minimal cases

    • Dermott Renner

      says:

      NZ PM said if virus got into pacific islands it could be very serious i.e. limited medical facilities

    • Darren

      says:

      Agreed. Also Hong Kong has less cases than New Zealand…

    • PaulC

      says:

      Perhaps not PNG though definitely all the Pacific Islands Having worked in PNG I doubt that we are getting a true picture of their situation and they have an inadequate health system

    • ron wittig

      says:

      Cant wait to get to Rarotonga again . Been 15 times.

  • Dennis Goodman

    says:

    Excellent initiative. No new cases reported here in NZ today, either. Plus 86% of those infected have now fully recovered.

  • Paul

    says:

    Maybe time for a common border as well!

    • Craig

      says:

      No.

    • Craigy

      says:

      A common border is a step too far.

    • Rhino

      says:

      Definately! And common currency

    • James

      says:

      That’s what I reckon too Paul. It is something that has been looked at over the years, I reckon this could be the opportunity to better harmonise immigration and customs/quarantine which would make this easier.

  • Whilst this is a totally logical accord it can only work if either country has the ability to withdraw if the other party opens its borders to other than those both Australia and New Zealand agree to.As a matter of course the Pacific Islands should only be included if their borders are closed to other than Australia and New Zealand.

  • Michael Andrew

    says:

    Lets get the aircraft flying again, lets show the yanks and all above the equator that we are back in business. Most importantly, now that we have had this wake-up call lets get it right. Greater trade between all nations below the equator, a currency that we all share, restart our manufacturing industries and just see where this old approach in looking after yourself takes us. Do we still trust our major trading partners now??? I don’t think the gift of COVID 19 by China shows any intent of a truthful or rusting trading partner.

  • Steve

    says:

    Yes..about time for a common or streamlined border process too. Its AU-NZ is basically a domestic hop for both sides…cost efficency and operational eficiency would be substantial.

  • kerry lane

    says:

    Brilliant idea – bring on a NZ trip

  • Red Cee

    says:

    Would be a strange situation if we could fly to New Zealand without the fourteen day quarantine at either end, yet not visit other states.

    • Ray

      says:

      Let Air New Zealand take over Virgin or allow Air New Zealand operate domestic flights in Australia. At least money would be kept in Australia and not sent to off shore investors e.g. China

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