At her final post cabinet press conference of the year, Kiwi Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced that the New Zealand (NZ) government has come to an “in principle” agreement to open a travel bubble with Australia.
“Cabinet has agreed in principle to establish a travel bubble with Australia, we anticipate in the first quarter of next year,” she said. “It is our intention to name a date for quarantine free trans-Tasman travel … in the New Year, once remaining details are locked down.”
The bubble will also apply to tourism but is still contingent on sign off from the Australian cabinet. Still outstanding is the issue of what happens if there is a resurgence of the virus necessitating an exodus from one country to the other. “Making sure we have in place contingency for how that will work safely is a key part of us being able to finalise these arrangements,” Arden said.
Kiwis can already travel to Australia without having to quarantine. The Australian government established a “safe travel zone” with New Zealand on October 16th.
However, this arrangement was only one-way, Australians can generally not travel to NZ, and Kiwi passengers returning to New Zealand from Australia still have to complete 14 days of managed isolation on their return.
Australia imported A$5.56 billion (about NZ$5.91 billion) worth of goods from NZ last year, while NZ imported around a tenth of that.