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Speculation over Pacific travel bubble timeline is ‘very premature’: Ardern spokesperson

Speculation over Pacific travel bubble timeline is ‘very premature’: Ardern spokesperson

Jacinda Ardern’s office says no date has been set for establishing a Pacific travel bubble, despite the Cook Islands deputy prime minister saying quarantine-free travel with New Zealand would be announced within a week.

Speculation over Pacific travel bubble timeline is ‘very premature’: Ardern spokesperson

Speaking on the AM Show this morning, Brown said his country was “looking forward to progress” after Cook Islands prime minister Henry Puna discussed the issue with Ardern last night.

“We’ve got a few little things to iron out with the protocols in terms of crossing the Ts and dotting the Is,” Brown said.

“We’re confident we will be able to open an air bridge between our two countries within the next week.

“We’re very grateful that the New Zealand Government has come onboard to look now at establishing the travel air bridge between our two countries.

“I’m confident we’ll have something up and running in the next week. The Cook Islands are open for business.”

However, a spokesperson for Ardern said a timeframe for a decision regarding the travel bubble has not yet been set.

“The prime minister spoke to the Cook Islands prime minister yesterday to convey that she has asked officials to work on timelines for reopening with realm countries,” said the spokesperson. “

“There are no set dates yet, and any speculation at this stage would be very premature.

“The number one priority will continue to be the safety of both New Zealand and realm countries.

“No one wishes to be responsible for COVID entering into the Pacific.”

Speaking to Newstalk ZB on Tuesday morning, Brown said a travel bridge would not just help the Cook Islands’ struggling tourism sector, but noted travel without the need for quarantine would be beneficial for the health of residents.

“That’s having a big impact on people who need to go to New Zealand for medical services, elective surgeries, cancer check-ups and that sort of thing,” he said.

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