N.Z.’s Ardern to Discuss Travel Bubble With Australian Cabinet

(Bloomberg) -- New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she will join an Australian government cabinet meeting Tuesday to discuss, among other issues, the eventual re-opening of borders between the two nations.

Ardern accepted an invitation from Australian counterpart Scott Morrison to join his national cabinet meeting, which includes state premiers, via video link tomorrow, she told a news conference Monday in Wellington. They would discuss various issues relating to the coronavirus pandemic “including the creation of a trans-Tasman travel bubble.”

“The fact we’re in a position as countries to have this conversation is a huge advantage to both of us,” she said. “One key aspect of our plan to get New Zealand moving is the work on the trans-Tasman bubble.”

New Zealand and Australia have both had success in containing the virus and avoided the exponential growth in cases seen in many other countries. As they look to relax lockdown restrictions, the focus has shifted to reigniting the economies and both would benefit if they could open the borders to each other’s tourists and business travelers.

Still, Ardern said such a move was not going to occur in the short term.

“It is about really considering ourselves within a bubble where we feel secure,” she said. “It is going to take us a little time to make sure we can do that safely.”

New Zealand’s initial focus was on Australia, but a next step could be to consider allowing in travelers from the Pacific Islands, she said.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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