Rumours have simmered for days about New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern’s inclusion in an Australian national cabinet meeting on May 5 and the possibility that this could signal the establishment of a ‘trans-Tasman travel bubble’ between the two nations.
Unfortunately, the outcome of Ardern’s talks with Australia’s federal government has put paid to hopes of a jaunt across the ditch any time soon.
Ardern had played her cards close to her chest in the press conference she gave via video link immediately following her meeting with the cabinet, saying that it would be for Australian officials to divulge what was discussed. Given the hype that has surrounded the prospect of travel between NZ and Australia in the near future, the topic was expected to be high on the agenda of prime minister Scott Morrison’s post-cabinet meeting media conference. However, the subject was omitted entirely in the largely economy-focused briefing, only being addressed following a question from a journalist.
“It is still some time away,” Morrison said of trans-Tasman travel. “It is important to flag it because it is part of the road back. At some point, both Australia and New Zealand will connect with the rest of the world again, and the most obvious places for that to start is between our two countries.”
Morrison went on to say that travel to New Zealand was unlikely to occur before internal, interstate travel was restored. Currently, state and territory borders are closed. “[It’s] not something that’s about to happen next week. It is something that will better sit alongside when we are seeing Australians travel from Melbourne to Cairns, at about that time I would expect everything being equal we would be able to also fly from Melbourne to Auckland or Christchurch."
So it seems for the time being that any holiday aspirations Australians have should remain girt by sea, and at least in the near future, in their home state.