What’s the hold-up with the Cook Islands bubble?

The time it’s taking the Government to sort out quarantine-free travel between two Pacific nations with no COVID-19 community cases is staggering, National’s COVID-19 Response spokesperson Chris Bishop says.

“I’ve lost count of the amount of announcements about future announcements the Labour Government has made on travel bubbles. It is getting ridiculous.

“Jacinda Ardern announced in December that New Zealand and the Cook Islands had agreed to open a travel bubble by end of March. Both have been largely on top of Covid-19 since then so what’s the hold-up? Were they just empty words from the Prime Minister last year?

“There’s lots of reasons to get moving on a Cook Islands bubble. Their GDP fell 15.5 percent in the year to September and New Zealanders make up more than 60 per cent of their tourism.

“Prime Minister Mark Brown said it himself today that the Cook Islands are ready for business after the significant toll Covid-19 has taken on their economy.

“If New Zealand can’t make a Cook Islands bubble happen on time then it doesn’t offer much hope for the future of the trans-Tasman bubble.

“This is timidity on a grand scale from the Labour Government.”