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Queensland back of the line for NZ flights, says Morrison

written by Adam Thorn | October 1, 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)

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has revealed he will likely not allow Queensland to receive flights from New Zealand because of the state’s insistence on hotel quarantine for domestic travel.

The PM argued he couldn’t justify allowing trans-Tasman flights into Brisbane if it would mean precious hotel quarantine rooms were taken up by Kiwi arrivals.

The intervention came on the day Queensland’s Deputy Premier Steven Miles confirmed he wouldn’t open his domestic borders to NSW until after the state’s election on 31 October.

Speaking on Adelaide’s FiveAA radio on Thursday morning, PM Morrison said, “I would see South Australia as well as NSW in the front end of that arrangement because they’ve both taken their borders down.

“For states who still have borders up and are insisting on quarantine for people, say, in Sydney to go to Brisbane, we can’t have people from New Zealand coming in and taking up those [hotel quarantine] places for Australians coming home [from overseas].”


PM Morrison’s words come alongside new comments by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern hinting travel between the two countries could be close, and begin with one-way flights from New Zealand to Australia.

“There is a chance that we could have Australia simply open to New Zealand because of our status and where we are right now, which is pretty good,” she told the Australian Associated Press on Wednesday.

“They could just say, ‘Well, look one way [travel from New Zealand to Australia] is fine by us’ until we work through some of the detail, and it’s a possibility.”

However, she hinted travel the other way was still slightly further away, and would involve Australia having to meet a set of criteria she is setting. When it begins, it will likely involve being able to rapidly stop travel to so-called hotspot areas that see COVID-19 flare-ups.

“Essentially what a hotspot system would do, it would shut down those areas where there were heightened cases, while allowing the rest to be open. And so absolutely, we can also make that work,” added PM Ardern.

“What we just need to hear a bit more from Australia on is what the definition of a hotspot will be, how they’ll manage the state borders in those situations, but we’re working that through.”

It comes days after Health Minister Greg Hunt, Trade Minister Simon Birmingham and PM Ardern signalled trans-Tasman flights could restart before the end of the year.

The recent developments mark a significant U-turn after PM Arden earlier said plans had been placed on the backburner and Air New Zealand chief executive Greg Foran said he didn’t believe the routes would start until 2021.

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Comments (22)

  • Neale


    The Qld premier is only keeping the woeful quarantine so she’ll be re-elected on 31/10.
    She’s thinking only of herself.
    The CMO leaves a lot to be desired as well, in this whole badly handled situation.
    Adverts on tv for ‘recovery’ of the State, led by labor??? Pfffftt……

  • Gerard


    “The PM argued he couldn’t justify allowing trans-Tasman flights into Brisbane if it would mean precious hotel quarantine rooms were taken up by Kiwi arrivals.”

    I’m only an ignorant Kiwi, but isn’t SA talking about letting students back in – at the expense of Aussies stranded abroad?

  • Steve A


    Sounds like political blackmail from the PM to me. NZ arrivals could go quarantine free because of their work on making NZ a very low risk, but Sydney? Well they’ve done just about everything wrong right from the Ruby Princess. It’s very high risk taking people from NSW hot spots. We are already extending access to Queensland for low risk areas of NSW. The Premier shouldn’t give way to blackmail. Better to keep us safe first.

  • AgentGerko


    Queensland, Western Australia and Tasmania should all be last on the list, irrespective of whether they end up opening their borders. Throughout the pandemic NSW has kept its borders open to everyone, except obviously Victoria with its second wave, and as such NSW should be rewarded. For months Qld has denied access to NSW holidaymakers so no way they should then get first access to Kiwi holidaymakers, even with a travel bubble. If you keep denying entry to fellow countrymen for health reasons then how can you expect to get international visitors?

  • Ian


    everything will change in Qld in just over 4 weeks. Why ? Election & new govt for sure.

  • Hilton CONROY


    Morrison is trying to make the Qld Gov unpopular … Their is an election soon in Qld.

  • Nicholas


    It’s appalling how bad Australian politicians have been on Covid management, my home state of QLD sadly started badly and if it’s possible has got worse as time has gone on.

    It’s a salutary lesson on what a lack of real life management skills most politicians have such that when put to the test they just don’t have the background and experience to manage crisis’s such as Covid.

    Sadly the only the only thing they have an excess of is hubris. No matter how bad they are and how often they are told this they look in the mirror every morning and tell themselves they are geniuses.

    Very sad and dispiriting.

  • John


    The NSW government has been brilliant in all of this. They have out performed all the other state governments. Well done NSW.

  • Jeff


    I wish we could take the politics out of decision making, and just manage the situation!
    Both parties are equal bad as each other

  • Josh


    I so much agree.
    “The difference between a politician and a statesman is that a politician thinks about the next election while the statesman think about the next generation.” James Freeman Clarke.
    Sadly we lack any semblance of a statesman in this country and the rest of the world for that matter.

  • William


    Right decision. Qld Premier, deputy and cho are all playing political games. Today they state sydney has to have no community transmission for 3 weeks before considering to open up. Funny thing is Sydney has had no community transmission for a number of days already

  • Stephen


    So it should be!
    With the total morons’ currently in Gov’t. & making dumba$$ decisions’, how else could it?
    Prior pandemic, State debt by labor was $96 BILLION, can only guess what it’s now.
    Roll on 31-10-2020, when this mob will be out on their ear, & common-sense will reign.

  • Geoffrey R Pope


    It’s obvious Morrison has it in for Qld because we are a labour state

  • Gary Klarenbeck



    I seem to remember a victorious PM last election evening, praising how good Queenslanders were and expressing all sorts of gratitude for making the winning difference for him. Hmmm…….! In view of his current childish attitude towards Queensland’s border restrictions and the up-coming proposed travel bubble with NZ, I now believe his statements on election eve were nothing but lies. Very sad, coming from a man who claims to be a born again Christian. He’s no brother of mine!

  • Chris


    Western Australia has managed the Cov situation better than all States..not too bothered with travel restrictions as WA has alot to offer for holidays. Small price to pay for the freedom and back to business of local industry. No rush here for more Kiwis?

  • Howard Patterson


    Scomo’s motives are as always, purely political. Queensland, S. A. W.A. N.T. and Tasmania all have near zero community transmssion (as does NZ) . N.S.W. has some, and Mrs Ardern has quite rightly indicated that persons going to NZ from NSW will have to quarantine in NZ. If risk was the criterion, NSW would be second last on the list.

  • hsgh


    The comments here about QLD seem to be misguided and are devoid of any facts.

    Might I remind people that QLD has had 6 deaths from Covid-19 from a population of 5Million. That is basically the best performance in the country.

    NSW has a population around 50% higher than QLD but NSW has had about 500% more deaths. Go look up the figures for yourself. 8Million population and 53 deaths. It’s simply primary school maths.

    TAS had more than twice the deaths of QLD from a quarter of the population! WA is just as bad!

  • Wayno


    Unlikely the NZ govt will allow Kiwi travellers return from NSW without quarantine until NSW has achieved 28 days without community transmission. Same standard that Qld maintains.

  • John


    Qld has the best living standards right now, WHY? because our Gov’t has put it’s people first. Nsw is just a puppet for Scuz mo and has a very dismal record, where as we in Qld enjoy the best living standards of any state, so other states are just jealous of our lifestyle.

  • John (from the 5/10), NSW has demonstrated world class contact tracing, has the best Premier it has ever had and she is certainly no puppet for the PM! All inconvenient truths for the ALP, at both state and federal levels. Remember that, during the Rudd/Gillard/Rudd years, the ALP federal government lost control of Australia’s PHYSICAL borders so comprehensively that they ended up having to open offshore detention centres…

  • Trinity


    Qld needs to be reminded of its kiwi residence who would love to see their families.
    My boyfriend has been stuck there for 10 months – quarantine is unnecessary due to Jacinda’s amazing leadership.
    People still have to pay rego, rent and what not whilst stuck overseas Anastasia- do the right thing before the election if you want to win. You would be a fool not to.
    Full hearts make decisions differently to those who live waiting for a spark of hope!!

  • Ashley


    Even kiwi residents who normally reside in Queensland, are waiting for quarantine free travel some families just can’t afford it and are waiting to return to their life (My two young children and I are still waiting). Please help it’s getting harder and harder as the days go by.

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