Looks Like VIC Might Be Excluded From That New Zealand Travel Bubble After The COVID-19 Spike

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern reckons a trans-Tasman travel bubble is still on the table as long as it’s done on a state-by-state basis, which almost certainly means holding off from opening up to Victoria.

She added that a whole-country solution would only slow things down, and that the ball’s in Australia’s court to get things under control.

“We know now that there are some countries who have a similar strategy to New Zealand around elimination community transmission and have plans around how to deal with it if it ever crops up – Australia’s in that category,” she told TVNZ’s Breakfast program this morning.

“At the moment they do have issues in Victoria. If they choose to move state-by-state, that’s a matter for them and that would of course allow things to open up sooner.”

Following the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic in Victoria, NSW closed its border with the state while Queensland and South Australia have also scrapped plans to allow Victorians in. Ardern said this could mean the New Zealand would likely open up to individual states rather than the whole country.

“Some of the states have actually put their own borders up, so they’ve created their own state bubbles, and so if Australia chose to say, ‘Well OK, we have a COVID-free state,’ and they’re in a position where they can travel that would be up to them,” she added.

“We have a system that would work with a state-by-state approach or a whole country approach; if it’s whole country we’ll be waiting because obviously there is community transmission in Victoria and we can’t risk that.

“It will come down to Australia really making those calls, but in the meantime we are of course making sure we have our house in order and our decision making framework ready to go.”

New Zealand has been one of the most successful countries in squashing the pandemic, but the government is hesitant to let foreigners in and lose all the progress they’ve made.

“My heart really goes out to Victoria at the moment,” Ardern said last Friday.