The Trans-Tasman Bubble is an exclusive travel corridor between New Zealand and Australia. The Prime Ministers of both nations have been in discussion over the past few months to open this travel bubble. This would allow residents to travel between the two nations and would be a start in reviving the struggling tourism industries. Australia has already reopened its borders to New Zealanders last October and visitors have been able to travel to Australia without having to quarantine. A trans-Tasman Covid-safe Travel Zone will allow Australians to travel around New Zealand and reunite with families and friends. At this stage there is no change for travel from Australia into New Zealand.
The Trans-Tasman Bubble agreement was supposed to be up and running by September 2020. However, due to some spikes in Covid cases in Australia the plans were pushed back. In mid-March excitement grew as it looked like Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern would declare the opening of the Trans-Tasman bubble from the beginning of April. But in a press conference on 22nd March, she announced that she would continue to proceed with caution and has delayed the announcement to April 6th 2021.
In a press conference she said, “We don’t have a date for you,” revealing plans to open the bubble gradually. “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 know what it would mean for people but we also know that many New Zealanders are nervous,” she said. “We intend to announce the commencement date for Trans-Tasman travel on April 6.”
On Monday, The Australia Government amended The Biosecurity Act 2015 to allow Australian citizens who have been in Australia for at least two weeks to go to New Zealand without having to ask for permission to do so. The Australian Government is keen to kickstart this travel bubble.
“We consciously opened up Australia to people coming from NZ because their case numbers were negligible and we knew there would come a time when our case numbers would give them confidence,” says the Australia’s Health Minister Greg Hunt. “It’s the first step on a return to international normality.”
It is widely anticipated Jacinda Ardern will consent to a travel bubble on April 6. Until this happens, the amendment of The Biosecurity Act makes no real difference to the ability of Australian’s trying to travel to New Zealand.