NZ bubble six months away

Holding out for the Trans-Tasman bubble?

You’ll have to wait at least six months.

That’s the word from Air New Zealand chief executive Greg Foran, who says March 2021 is the very earliest any such bubble would exist.

Or much, much longer.

“I certainly do not believe we will see anything across the Tasman this calendar year. It’s hard to believe it would be before March next year and could well be longer,” he told the The Sydney Morning Herald.

“If it comes back quicker, we’re going to pop some champagne.”

Mr Foran said, ultimately, a bubble between Australia and New Zealand would not require a mandatory quarantine period.

However, he believes eliminating COVID-19 is looking increasingly unrealistic.

“Elimination, which is a worthy thing to go after, is probably not sustainable based on what we’re now learning, which is the vaccine is not going to be 100 per cent effective, not everybody is going to take it, and it’s going to take years to get distributed,” he said.

While a September bubble looked promising – for a while – those hopes were dashed when rising cases hit Victoria, followed by clusters in NSW and Auckland.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said rising cases in Melbourne were a major step back for trans-Tasman travel.

“Obviously this is going to be some time away now,” she said, adding that Australia would need at least 28 days of no community transmission before renewed talks of a bubble.

“Anywhere where we have COVID-free travel, they have to be free of community transmission for a period of time – that will be some time for Australia,” she said.

“It will be on the backburner for several months.”

Undaunted by New Zealand’s disinterest, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has suggested potential bubbles could be established between regions that have no community transmission.

“For example, the whole of the South Island, that’s an area where there is no COVID,” he said.

“And so if we can get to the situation soon where those coming home from New Zealand are able to enter Australia without going into a 14-day quarantine in a hotel, or in the worst-case scenario, only having to do that in their home, then what that does is that frees up places in our hotel quarantine system.”

However, the PM’s first priority is to reopen state borders across Australia, after which he is keen to establish travel opportunities between neighbouring countries.

YourLifeChoices has reported on potential bubbles between several countries, including South Korea, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Greece, Japan, Israel, some Pacific Island nations and Hawaii.

Are you keen to see a bubble between Australia and New Zealand? Of the countries mentioned above, which would you most like to visit should a bubble be created?

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