Where is the Govt’s travel bubble back-up plan?

The Government clearly had no back-up plan when engaging in the interminable discussions with Australia over opening a trans-Tasman bubble because if it did we would have a date for travel by now, National’s COVID-19 spokesperson Chris Bishop says.

“If the Government was as serious about a trans-Tasman bubble as it lead New Zealanders to believe last year, it would have been properly planning for a unilateral bubble while negotiations surrounding state-by-state travel were ongoing.

“While COVID-19 Recovery Minister Chris Hipkins claims the Government had some plans in place, if it had done the work properly a travel bubble would have been opened by now and New Zealanders wouldn’t have had to sit through a meaningless announcement by the Prime Minister to announce a potential date for travel with Australia.

“Australia opened up to New Zealand in October last year yet New Zealand has never returned the favour. There are families who have missed out on births and deaths, who are waiting to be reunited. New Zealand’s Government is keeping them apart.

“The Prime Minister’s excuse that there are issues to be ‘worked through’ and that New Zealand needs a response framework that is ‘fit and ready’ doesn’t wash.

“A travel bubble has been in negotiations for nine months, these issues have been on the table the entire time and they should have been sorted out ages ago.

“The delay to a trans-Tasman bubble is solely down to the ineptitude of the Labour Government. New Zealanders will be rightly frustrated two-way travel with Australia still isn’t happening.”