What Aussies must do to revive trans-Tasman travel bubble
A travel bubble with New Zealand previously feted for next month is not even "a remote possibility", New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said this morning with any chance of an opening a long way off.
But Australian officials remain hopeful some form of arrangement could be reached by Christmas.
While there had been on going talks about opening up trans-Tasman travel, Ms Ardern said she wanted to see Australia go 28 days without any community transmission before that could happen.
With Melbourne in unprecedented lockdowns and Queensland and NSW fighting off outbreaks, the possibility remains remote for the foreseeable future.
Ms Ardern indicated New Zealand would not consider opening up to individual states, but to the country as a whole.
"It's incredibly difficult to watch to see our cousins over the ditch going through this, it's also a message to us to continue to maintain our vigilance," she told TVNZ1 this morning.
"In terms of repercussions for our wider plans around a trans-Tasman bubble, obviously that will be a long way off given what they're experiencing right now."
She ruled out any chance of the September opening, which had previously been discussed.
"I can't see how that could be even a remote possibility at this point," Ms Ardern said.
According to the New Zealand Ministry of Health the country has just two active cases and it has been more than 90 days since the last case of community transmission.
Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham has previously indicated that the September bubble was unlikely, but he remained hopeful an arrangement could be in place by the end of the year.
He said it was "entirely understandable" New Zealand would be showing a higher degree of caution at the moment.
"Clearly, they're not going to want flights in and out of Melbourne any time soon just as Australian states are showing nervousness around what's happening in New South Wales," he told the Tourism and Transport Forum summit on Thursday.
"I still hope that it can be achieved this year, whether it is to all of Australia or whether it may be that our quarantine in Victoria extends to something that enables a travel bubble to open up from New Zealand to perhaps the rest of Australia."
If cases remain too high, there is a possibility Australia could still push for a state-by-state arrangement.