This is the test for the trans-Tasman bubble, isn’t it?
Here we are, exactly one week out from the Prime Minister announcing a date, and we have cases appearing in Brisbane, testing whether Australia can be trusted.
I reckon the chances of the bubble happening next week depends on two things.
The first is whether Covid makes its way over the Queensland border into other states, and then whether those states can get stop it becoming a problem.
And the reason this is important is because in a bubble we will essentially be acting like another state of Australia.
So far there are no new cases overnight in either Victoria or New South Wales, but NSW is preparing for possible cases given that the infected Queensland nurse had gone there for a hen’s night.
So, if NSW and Victoria get any cases they have to get onto them quickly and shut them down like our Auckland and Northland cases have been shut down.
That happens, and it will worry Kiwis confidence, but if it gets away on them, worried Kiwis will possibly believe the same thing could happen here.
The second thing is whether Queensland is still in lockdown next Tuesday.
It’s going to be hard for Jacinda Ardern to tell terrified kiwis that she is opening the border to Australia if Brisbane is in lockdown
There is the chance that she could announce a two week delay in the border opening, and that might fly, but I suspect that would be too out of step with the brand of caution.
And there is a very chance that Brisbane will still be in lockdown. Right now, it’s just a three day lockdown but you have to respect that could be extended given that there are eight new cases today and given that the Queensland premiere is almost as cautious as Ardern.
I can’t see Ardern announcing New Zealand is opening its border to Australian states when they don’t all have their borders open to each other.
My hope obviously is that Ardern is pragmatic and that this only delays but doesn’t kill the bubble, given that we now know Covid will appear from time to time and we will have to get on top of it.
But, as I say, this is the test. The opening of our border depends on the example they’re setting now with their open border.