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Cook Islands travel bubble expected ‘before the end of the year’: Ardern

Cook Islands travel bubble expected ‘before the end of the year’: Ardern

Cook Islands travel bubble expected ‘before the end of the year’: Ardern

New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern expects there will be a travel bubble with the Cook Islands “before the end of the year”.

Providing an update to media, the prime minister said Cabinet today considered a draft text for the basis of an agreement for travel between the Cook Islands and New Zealand.

She said the draft agreement is nearing completion, and is set to be verified by officials in the next 10 days.

Ardern said there is not an exact timeframe to establish quarantine-free travel between New Zealand and the Cook Islands as she does not “want to set false expectations”.

“We haven’t wanted to give dates beyond that while we’re still undertaking that verification work. And that’s on both sides, both the Cooks Islands and New Zealand,” she said.

Ardern said while there has been a focus on processes at airports, the same rigour needs to be applied to the maritime border between the nations.

“It is not a simple exercise and it is one where we are exercising caution,” the prime minister said.

Regarding who would be eligible for quarantine-free travel, Ardern said those who are not New Zealand passport holders may need extra visa requirements.

“Those who would legally be able to be in New Zealand would be eligible but if they’re not New Zealand citizens, they may need to go through an extra phase,” she said.

She also revealed the government is still undertaking work for trans-Tasman travel arrangements, but said “obviously that is some time off”.

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