Open the transtasman bubble – that is the call from National Party leader Judith Collins, who says New Zealand’s tourism sector is “desperate”.
Collins this morning said New Zealand and Australia had done well to reduce the threat of Covid-19.
“We should take the logical next step and get the travel bubble up and running,” she said.
“Both countries have a similar Covid profile and Australia has proven a bubble can work.”
Australia had opened its border to Kiwis last October and had adopted a flexible approach whenever community cases were identified here.
“We should take the same approach.”
Collins said people travelling from across the Tasman should have to show a negative pre-departure test within 72 hours of travelling.
But they should not have to go into mandatory 14-day managed isolation on arrival, she said.
Collins acknowledged a one-way travel system could work – as seen with travellers coming into New Zealand from the Cook Islands.
“The Government has indicated that a travel bubble is possible in the current settings by allowing quarantine-free travel from the Cook Islands, since January.
“Managed isolation is overrun with long delays because places are being taken up by Kiwis returning from Australia when there is little – if any – risk of Covid-19,” she said.
Those sought-after spots in managed isolation and quarantine could be given to people who are returning from other parts of the world or workers and families of those needed to return to work here.
She said the public had been told for months that a transtasman bubble was on the cards. However, the borders remained closed.
“The Government must make this a priority. New Zealanders deserve action now.”
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