NZ can’t wait any longer for a trans-Tasman bubble

National is calling on the Government to open the trans-Tasman bubble with Australia to give our desperate tourism sector a much-needed boost and reunite Kiwis with family and friends across the ditch.

“New Zealand and Australia have both done well to reduce the threat of COVID-19,” Leader of the Opposition Judith Collins says. “We should now take the logical next step and get the travel bubble up-and-running.

“Both countries have a similar COVID profile and Australia has proven a bubble can work. They opened their border to Kiwis in October and have adopted a flexible approach when there have been community cases in New Zealand. We should take the same approach.”

People arriving from Australia should be required to show evidence of a negative pre-departure test within 72 hours of travel, but not have to go into isolation on arrival in New Zealand, Ms Collins says.

“The Government has indicated that a travel bubble is possible in the current settings by allowing quarantine-free travel from the Cook Islands since January.”

Tourism NZ has estimated that opening a travel bubble with Australia, combined with domestic tourism, would see tourism revenue return to 70 per cent of pre-COVID levels. A report from Development West Coast last week said 80 per cent of businesses would close within six months if visitors don’t return.

“Managed Isolation is overrun with long delays because places are being taken up by Kiwis returning from Australia when there is little, if any, risk of Covid-19,” Ms Collins says.

“These MIQ places could be better used by Kiwis returning from other parts of the world, or the skilled workers and their families needed by so many New Zealand companies.

“We’ve been told for months that a trans-Tasman bubble is being worked on but our borders remain sealed, even though Australia opened to Kiwis without any formal discussion.

“The Government must make this a priority. New Zealanders deserve action now.”