australian aviation logo

Jacinda Ardern hints travel bubble in doubt after suspension

written by Adam Thorn | January 27, 2021

An Air New Zealand Boeing 787-9 at Sydney Airport. (Seth Jaworski)
An Air New Zealand Boeing 787-9 at Sydney Airport. (Seth Jaworski)

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has hinted a full trans-Tasman travel bubble could be in doubt after Australia suspended the current one-way arrangement.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Ardern said she had “expressed her disappointment” at the move in a phone call with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

It comes after Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said on Monday any Kiwis arriving in the country over the following three days would be required to enter hotel quarantine. The move was a reaction to a woman in New Zealand testing positive to a more transmissible South African strain of COVID.

On Monday, however, PM Ardern appeared to warn the deal for two-way travel could be off if there is no certainty over borders remaining open.

“If we are to enter into a trans-Tasman bubble we will need to be able to give people confidence that we won’t see closures at the borders that happen with very short notice over incidents that we believe can be well managed domestically,” PM Ardern said.

“I certainly shared my view [with PM Morrison] that this was a situation that was well under control, that we have had experiences in New Zealand with these situations in the past, if we’re going to run a trans-Tasman arrangement we need to be able to manage situations like this.”

“We are continuing to pursue [a two-way bubble] but what we will need to establish is a way that we can have that arrangement without seeing such disruption over events that may happen from time to time.”


A one-way ‘travel bubble’ opened in October 2019 allowing Kiwis to enter Australia without quarantine, but not the other way around.

However, two months later, New Zealand pledged to drop its border restrictions in the first quarter of 2021, making the bubble reciprocal.

PM Ardern’s apparent anger likely stemmed from the country pledging not to delay the two-way travel bubble’s opening despite a resurgence of cases in Australia at Christmas.


New Zealand’s COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins told The Guardian earlier this month that a decision would be made on a date “early this year, as conditions allow”.

Comments (3)

  • AgentGerko


    What a wingeing sod. We’ve allowed Kiwis into Oz for nearly three months now without any sign of her reciprocating but we suspend for three days and she wants to take her bat and ball and go home. Sorry ms Adern but you need Australian tourists more than we need Kiwi ones.

  • Kenneth


    “ A one-way ‘travel bubble’ opened in October 2019 ”, believe it was in 2020 😎

  • Brian Beban


    One way Ardhern. it’s OK for Nz to apply quarantine but she gets upset when it’s applied to them.

  • Kenneth


    “ A one-way ‘travel bubble’ opened in October 2019”, do believe it was 2020 😎

  • Deano969


    What a hypocrite Jacinda is
    The current bubble is one way….
    She would have every right to complain if it was a 2 way bubble

Leave a Comment to Kenneth Cancel

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Each day, our subscribers are more informed with the right information.

SIGN UP to the Australian Aviation magazine for high-quality news and features for just $99.95 per year

You don't have credit card details available. You will be redirected to update payment method page. Click OK to continue.