Cook Islands continues call for travel bubble

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Mon, 6 Jul 2020, 6:22PM
(Photo / Getty)

Cook Islands continues call for travel bubble

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Mon, 6 Jul 2020, 6:22PM

Jacinda Ardern says work is underway on a Pacific bubble -- but admits she hasn't spoke to the Cook Islands Prime Minister for several weeks.

The Cook Islands have been calling on New Zealand to open its border to the island nation.

Deputy Prime Minister Mark Brown says the country is Covid-free and its economy depends on the return of New Zealand tourists.

Ardern says she hasn't spoken to Cook Islands Prime Minister Henry Puna for a while, but wants to check in again at some point.

“Covid-free status, you can declare that, but we need to make sure that you have a reliable testing in place, contact tracing regime in place, everything we’d expect of ourselves.”

While they have not spoken with Ardern, Brown, says he spoke with his New Zealand counterpart, Winston Peters, on Friday.

He says Peters confirmed he'd ask officials to look at easing border controls for people requiring medical treatment here.

“A requirement for these people, and usually an accompanying person to undergo a 14 day quarantine in New Zealand, is putting an unnecessary burden on these people.”

Brown says they also want restrictions eased so judges can go to the Cook Islands.

“We use New Zealand judges in our court trials here, so we haven’t been able to hold any jury trials, and that’s causing a bit of a backlog.”

Brown says they also want restrictions eased to skilled construction personnel so they can travel between both countries.