New Zealand Says Travel Bubble With Australia Won't Come Until At Least The End Of This Year
Any hopes of an overseas holiday to New Zealand have been dashed for Australians due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The much-hyped Trans-Tasman travel bubble was something many Aussies were looking forward, but it looks like those plans can be put on ice for another few months.
The recent second wave in Victoria and small outbreaks in New South Wales has given New Zealand authorities cold feet, despite other parts of Australia being Covid-free for several weeks.
New Zealand is now looking at opening up a travel bubble with the Cook Islands.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told Newshub: "It's clear to us that opening up with Realm countries, keeping in mind they are New Zealand passport holders, will come before any opening up with Australia."
"[Officials are] doing that. They're working with the airlines. That's going to take several weeks. Then we'll get a report back on exact dates when we'll be able to start the rollout of the reopening."
She refused to zero in on a date when that could be expected.
Her deputy, Winston Peters, says there could be a travel bubble established between New Zealand and Australian states and territories that are Covid-free, however that will take longer to set up.
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Air New Zealand boss Greg Foran predicts it probably won't happen until the end of the year, or maybe even into next year.
He told a parliamentary committee that it 'felt a little bit closer eight weeks ago' that a travel bubble could have been set up, however things have changed.
"Now it feels that possibly, that maybe, at best, [the bubble could come at] the end of this year, and probably more likely next year," he said.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is more hopeful about the travel bubble happening and even hinted there could be more countries added to the bubble.
Speaking to Channel 9, Mr Morrison said: "I would hope, and expect, that before the end of the year New Zealand and Australia would be able to agree a safe travel zone between Australia and New Zealand.
"We are progressing that. There are many Pacific nations, equally, that want to be able to be a part of that. The discussions I had with the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, they're keen to see more safe travel, so we will adjust and we can adjust."
One can only hope.
Featured Image Credit: PA