Jacinda Ardern Reckons Aussies Won’t Be Able To Hoon Around New Zealand Until September

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has identified September as a realistic time for trans-Tasman travel to resume, dampening some optimistic predictions that crossing the ditch could happen as early as July.

New Zealand’s Trans-Tasman Safe Border Group, which has been sussing how to reopen the tourism links between Australia and New Zealand in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, yesterday said September was a reasonable target.

Ardern agreed, today telling reporters “that could be realistic.”

While she didn’t make any commitments regarding the date, Ardern said, “I have been very focused on making sure that as soon as we are ready then we can move.”

The Trans-Tasman Safe Border Group is slated to reveal its full roadmap early next month.

Ardern’s statement comes one day after the Australian Chamber Of Commerce’s Tourism Restart Taskforce revealed its own draft timeline, which suggested July 1 as a potential date for the travel “bubble” to take effect.

But that timetable is contingent on “health advice and Government restrictions allowing it to happen,” said John Hart, Chair of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Tourism.

Those permissions are yet to be granted.

The idea of the trans-Tasman travel bubble has been bandied about for a while, with both Australia and New Zealand keen to begin the slow process of opening their borders to the world.

The timeline will be dictated by the pandemic, of course. New Zealand has gone five days without any new confirmed coronavirus cases, according to the nation’s Director-General Ashley Bloomfield, while Australia has averaged ten new cases a day for the past week.

There’s still a lot of work to be done before both nations can be sure that reopening borders to tourists won’t muck everything up. So, barring any further miracles, you should probably be eyeing September as the best bet to visit your Kiwi mates.