Coronavirus

Jacinda Ardern to join Australian national cabinet amid talk of 'trans-Tasman bubble'

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Adern speaks during a national coronavirus update. Source: Getty

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has invited his New Zealand counterpart Jacinda Ardern to join national cabinet's next discussion about the coronavirus.

A "trans-Tasman bubble" could be formed after New Zealand's prime minister joins Australian leaders in a discussion about battling the coronavirus and easing restrictions.

Jacinda Ardern will share New Zealand's experiences during Tuesday's national cabinet meeting.

While Australia's constitution envisages New Zealand could one day join the federation, such a meeting is unprecedented.

Industry Minister Karen Andrews said New Zealand would be able to share its different experiences with the virus and the effect of the tougher lockdown restrictions it put in place.

"I think it's a very good opportunity for Australia and New Zealand to show how closely they have worked together and to make sure that we build on those relationships in the future," she told reporters on Monday.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has previously suggested that when international travel restrictions are eventually lifted, the links with New Zealand will be the first re-established.

Ms Ardern said the creation of a "trans-Tasman travel bubble" would be a main topic of discussion.

"The fact that we're even in a position as countries to have this conversation is a huge advantage to both of us," she told reporters in New Zealand.

"We feel secure that the relative response on both sides of the Tasman ... gives the assurance that that [quarantine of Australian travellers] won't be required."

Prime Minister Scott Morrison talks to reporters.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison talks to reporters.
AAP

But she warned not to expect any movement on travel bans within weeks.

The flow of tourists and business people across the Tasman would benefit both countries as they tried to restart their economies, Ms Ardern predicted.

The national cabinet meeting is also expected to discuss the use of smartphone contact tracing apps to help health officials get in touch with people who might be at risk of contracting the virus.

Australia released its COVIDSafe app last week and more than four million people have downloaded it so far, but New Zealand is still investigating whether it will follow suit.

Meanwhile, a new survey of democratic nations dealing with coronavirus shows New Zealand's government topping the trust stakes.

Nine in 10 Kiwis surveyed for The Australia Institute trusted their government to give clear and accurate advice about the disease.

Australians were next, with eight in 10 trusting government information.

The countries' coronavirus results have been similar, with Australia suffering 3.8 deaths per million of population, slightly better than New Zealand with four deaths per million.

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

Testing for coronavirus is now widely available across Australia. If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.

The federal government's coronavirus tracing app COVIDSafe is available for download from your phone's app store.

SBS is committed to informing Australia’s diverse communities about the latest COVID-19 developments. News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus.

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