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‘Slowest state’ delaying NZ travel: Deputy PM

Australian state border closures are holding up the commencement of the planned Trans-Tasman travel bubble, says New Zealand’s Deputy Prime Minister.

Winston Peters, who is also New Zealand’s Foreign Affairs Minister, says a "roadblock of federalism" is delaying a plan to create the bubble between NZ and Australia, which would be a boost to tourism in both countries, but especially New Zealand who relies heavily on Aussie visitation. 


Australian travellers account for more than half (55%) of all foreign arrivals into New Zealand.  



"Before we went to lockdown, we were talking about getting out of it and having a bubble of success between both countries," Mr Peters told the Nine network


"But we've run into the roadblock of federalism, so to speak."


Peters is also keen to see direct flights between NZ and Tasmania, which is free of coronavirus, begin as soon as possible.


"It's very clear that Tasmania is set to go and we should start, frankly," he said.


"Let's not restrain the movement between our two countries based on the slowest state in Australia."


Now COVID-19 free, New Zealand lifted all of its domestic restrictions on social distancing over the weekend.


New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said a decision on whether the travel bubble would be limited to certain states would be Australia’s to make, as would a choice on whether all domestic travel restrictions would have to be removed first.


"[Prime Minister Scott Morrison] has actually left that open," Ms Ardern told a New Zealand radio station.


"We've said that's a matter for Australia, we're not necessarily here determining that it has to be country-wide.


"They have very deliberately left the option of opening up individual states."


According to the ABC, Mr Morrison himself has expressed frustration at the continuing border closures.


“We need to open up these domestic borders … that occurs for South Australia, for Tasmania, for Queensland and Western Australia,” the PM said during parliament question time on Wednesday,” he remarked.


“I would be hoping that at the earliest possible opportunity, states will be able to indicate the date in July that interstate travel will be open again to be able to give that certainty.”


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Written by: Mark Harada
Published: 10 June 2020

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