PM hopes for travel bubble with the Cook Islands by end of the year

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Mon, 10 Aug 2020, 1:30PM

PM hopes for travel bubble with the Cook Islands by end of the year

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Mon, 10 Aug 2020, 1:30PM

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern hopes a travel bubble with the Cooks Islands will be up and running by the end of this year.

Cabinet met this morning to discuss the draft agreement, which isn't far from completion.

Ardern says in the next 10 days, the agreement will be verified by officials.

She says there's no timeframe for the travel bubble, but they expect it to be up and running by the end of the year.

"We haven't wanted to give dates beyond that while we're still undertaking that verification work. And that's on both sides, both the Cooks Islands and New Zealand."

Business groups and some Pacific countries, including the Cook Islands, have been urging the New Zealand government to open travel with some parts of the region.

She told morning media this morning there had been progress made and didn't consider there to be any significant hold-ups.

"It's unlikely that we'll be giving dates, but a progress report on what the next steps are, and that will give a bit of a sense of how far things feel away," Ardern told the AM Show.

Last week Auckland Airport said it would be ready to operate the travel bubble with a safe travel zone.

"In 14 days' time, if we got a flight from Rarotonga it would have a whole pier at the airport to itself and it will have 10 air-bridges to pull up at," said Auckland Airport's Mick Cottrell.

Cottrell said the airport could separate passengers from Covid-free countries and those arriving into quarantine.

The Cook Islands Chamber of Commerce said the country risked losing many young people to New Zealand if a safe travel corridor was not opened soon.