Expert group formed to investigate safely opening trans-Tasman travel - BusinessNZ

Elias Hubbard
May 5, 2020

Scott Morrison says a trans-Tasman travel zone is still some time away, but he says the country is committed to introducing one.

However, some state borders still closed in Australia would likely need to be reopened before the two countries could allow free movement.

Each country is vital to the success of each other's small and medium-sized businesses, and contribute strongly to each other's tourism sectors, with estimated $3 billion in global visitor spend each way every year.

"I wouldn't say it would be in the very, very near short term", Ardern said at a news conference in Wellington.

"So we both stand to benefit from getting travel up and running again".

"We see that in business and corporate traffic, where people have to travel for business purposes, and we believe there'll be a whole bunch of families who want to reconnect", he tells Executive Traveller.

Ahead of the 10am (8am Singapore) Cabinet meeting with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, the premier of Australia's New South Wales state, Gladys Berejiklian, said she was hopeful that a travel "hub" could be formed between the two countries.

"When we feel comfortable and confident that we both won't receive cases from Australia, but equally that we won't export them, then that will be the time to move".

She said: "We will not have open borders for the rest of the world for a long time to come".

"I do think we should both be proud of the efforts that have been made".

"We will remain responsive to the health situation as it develops".

Ms Ardern said leaders would not roll out the travel plan until they are sure coronavirus would not spread between the two countries.

Once "effective travel arrangements across the Tasman" are established they would look at opportunities to broaden that to the Pacific.

Infectious disease expert Professor Peter Collignon told Daily Mail Australia that prohibition on global travel - with the exception of New Zealand - is likely to remain in place until after winter.

Australia has recorded around 6800 infections and 96 deaths, and New Zealand 1486 cases and 20 fatalities, thanks to the early imposition in both countries of social-distancing rules and the closure of borders to global visitors.

Leaders in Australia and New Zealand are talking about loosening travel restrictions between the two countries.

Ardern noted that more than 18,500 Australian companies trade with New Zealand as part of the reasons to reopen travel. This new group will be able to draw on its strong working relationships with public and private sector and understanding of Trans-Tasman travel and border processes enabling fast progress.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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