Jacinda crushes Aussie travel hopes
Travelling to New Zealand without the need to quarantine is still a dream for Australians, after Jacinda Ardern today announced a trans-Tasman travel bubble was still weeks away.
The New Zealand Prime Minister had hinted that a big travel announcement was on the cards, with many expecting Ms Ardern to reveal an agreement had finally been reached after months of negotiations.
However, in a post-Cabinet press conference this afternoon, she instead revealed her government would announce the start date for quarantine-free travel between the two nations on April 6.
"We don't have a date for you," Ms Ardern told reporters on Monday afternoon, adding authorities had to "proceed with caution".
"We know what it would mean for people but we also know that many New Zealanders are nervous.
"Our view is, rather than trying to work through a solution that sees all of Australia with New Zealand, that we can work through an arrangement that sees us operating with some states but not others.
"We will be saying, to make this work, there will be an element of 'flyer beware'. We want to keep this open, we want to keep it moving, but we also want to keep both sides safe.
"So there may be occasions when we take a precautionary approach and for short periods of time travel ceases."
Meanwhile, Australia has lifted its international travel ban to allow travel to New Zealand, paving the way for the next stage of the trans-Tasman travel bubble.
The Federal Government has made changes to its emergency biosecurity laws that will allow people to leave Australia to visit New Zealand, once New Zealand makes a decision on whether to allow quarantine-free access to Australian travellers.
Health Minister Greg Hunt amended the emergency biosecurity laws on Monday to allow anyone who had been in Australia for at least 14 days to travel "directly to New Zealand" for any reason.
Under Australia's travel ban, which came into effect 12 months ago, Australians have to apply for an exemption to leave the country.
An exemption is now no longer needed for New Zealand.
Australia lifted quarantine restrictions for travellers from New Zealand in October, in the first stage of the long-awaited trans-Tasman travel bubble.
The bubble was temporarily suspended in January due to an outbreak in Auckland.
Last week Air New Zealand said it would launch non-stop flights between Auckland and Tasmania as soon as the two-way bubble opened up.
The New Zealand Cabinet committee is discussing a report about what form trans-Tasman travel will take.
The travel bubble would allow Australians and New Zealanders to travel between the two countries without having to undergo mandatory two week quarantine on arrival.
While using the bubbles, both countries will retain the right to stop flights if an outbreak occurs.
The report also claims New Zealand airports would be split into "green zones" and "red zones".
Green zones will be used by bubble travellers, and domestic travellers who don't have to quarantine.
Red zones will be used by travellers who have come from other overseas countries and are in transit or moving to quarantine facilities.
- with Phoebe Loomes
Originally published as Jacinda crushes Aussie travel hopes