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Jacinda Ardern says trans-Tasman bubble ‘possible’ before Christmas

Jacinda Ardern says trans-Tasman bubble ‘possible’ before Christmas

Jacinda Ardern says trans-Tasman bubble ‘possible’ before Christmas

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said a state-by-state trans-Tasman travel bubble with Australia was “possible” before Christmas.

This comes after reports out of Australia that the federal government is considering one-way travel for Kiwis heading to Australia by Christmas. This would be firstly restricted to people living in the South Island.

Australian Federal Trade, Tourism and Investment Minister Simon Birmingham said he is hopeful Australians would be able to travel to New Zealand by the end of 2020.

He said work is being done around airport management, border protections, screening processes to ensure safe travel between Australians and New Zealanders, without the risk of encountering other travellers from high-risk areas.

“Ultimately, whether New Zealand opens up to Australia will be a matter for New Zealand, but we are working to make sure we’re ready and hopefully we can see those steps taken this year,” said Birmingham.

Speaking to Breakfast and NewstalkZB this morning, Ardern confirmed the two governments have been working on a travel bubble in parts of the countries that were not affected by COVID-19.

“Our view was that we would always be able to get movement between Australia and New Zealand open sooner if they were taking a hotspot or state-by-state approach,” said Ardern.

The ability to set up a state-by-state travel arrangement between Australia and New Zealand would depend heavily on strong border controls between ‘hostpot’ states, like Victoria, and others with low cases.

“Currently everything that’s coming in and out of Australia and New Zealand has travellers coming in and out of Covid areas so you have to completely segregate those fliers,” added Ardern.

Ardern said she would discuss border issues with Scott Morrison in their next meeting.

What are ‘hotspots’?

An approach developed by Australian health officials and government, a ‘hotspot’ is a place with high cases of COVID-19, or that is at risk of a lot of COVID-19 infections.

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