Jacinda Ardern admits there is little chance of a full trans-Tasman travel bubble by Christmas

New Zealand is weeks away from opening up a travel bubble with the Cook Islands, with Australia remaining some while away.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says a two-way travel bubble with Australia is some way off.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Source: AAP

As South Australia experiences , New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has conceded there's very little chance of an operational trans-Tasman travel bubble by Christmas.

Australia and New Zealand are tackling the pandemic with slightly different strategies, leading to an impasse over a border reopening.

Australia is pursuing a suppression strategy, which involves locking down hotspots where cases reach a certain threshold, but New Zealand's elimination strategy does not allow for the same risk tolerance.


"What's happening in South Australia only further reinforces the importance of having a good understanding of how Australia intends to manage their internal borders when there are outbreaks," Ms Ardern said.

"If they have an outbreak but they are instituting strong border controls, then it's manageable.

"But if they have a tolerance level for community transmission that's higher than ours, then it is problematic.

"What this underscores is why it's so important that New Zealand has not rushed into this."

While Kiwis can travel to New South Wales and the Northern Territory without the need to quarantine for a fortnight, no one entering New Zealand escapes the mandatory isolation period.

Ms Ardern said said she didn't "have the necessary protections" to give an assurance around a Christmas reopening.

Still, New Zealand is holding out the prospect of her country opening up to one destination soon - the Cook Islands.

The semi-autonomous Pacific nation has deep ties to New Zealand and is without a case of coronavirus during the pandemic.

Kiwi officials are currently on the Cooks, surveying the country's air and maritime borders, with a view to opening a bubble and restoring the tourism-reliant economy.

Ms Ardern said once the officials gave the green light to an opening, it would take three weeks to get it up and running.

On Monday, Ms Ardern's cabinet also made changes to mask-wearing after .

From Thursday, Aucklanders on public transport and all New Zealanders on planes will have to wear masks, along with taxi and Uber drivers.

"These additional precautions are a small price to pay to maintain the economic and social freedoms, we have," Ms Ardern said.

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Check your jurisdiction's restrictions on gathering limits.

If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, stay home and arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080. News and information is available in 63 languages at 

Please check the relevant guidelines for your state or territory: .

3 min read
Published 16 November 2020 at 9:37pm
Source: AAP, SBS