New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden has opened the door to a travel bubble with Australia in the first quarter of 2021.
Arden did not lock in a specific date but outlined the start of quarantine free travel in the new year on condition Australia’s Covid numbers stayed low.
“But I think for now, New Zealanders by and large appreciate the approach of the Government to ensure that we are not taking on an unnecessary risk as we’re going into the summer,” she said.
“We’ve never been wanting to put specific dates prematurely before we’ve made final decisions because people make plans, people book flights, and people may potentially have quarantine bookings that they could cancel.
“We don’t want anyone to do that prematurely until we have certainty around when it will open.”
Arden said her government would plan for contingencies in case of a sudden outbreak in Australia.
“We would need to make arrangements to have potentially thousands of New Zealanders brought back to New Zealand in numbers that we wouldn’t be able to facilitate, necessarily, managed isolation,” she said.
Australia’s Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt welcomed the announcement saying it was the “second half of the equation”.