Jacinda Ardern joined Australia’s National Cabinet meeting this morning to discuss future travel options between Australia and New Zealand.
Although Level 4 lockdown restrictions were eased down to Level 3 last week, New Zealand confirmed on Monday, that they have no new known cases for the first time in a month. Jacinda Ardern has been praised for her transparent approach to the pandemic, with her country having a remarkably low mortality rate and high rate of patient recovery.
Jacinda Ardern discussed the creation of a trans-Tasman “travel bubble” at the Australian National Cabinet meeting this Tuesday morning.
The New Zealand PM has been liaising closely with the Australian Government, in an attempt to work out the viability and grounds of a safe travel zone between the two nations.
“Both our countries’ strong record on fighting the virus has placed us in the enviable position of being able to plan the next stage in our economic rebuild and to include trans-Tasman travel and engagement in our strategy,” she said.
The “travel bubble” would help both countries by reinvigorating tourism, boosting the economy and increasing morale. It’s a trade-off that could potentially favour Australians and New Zealanders in the long run, but must be taken with caution. Ardern believes there is a still a long way to go before we get to this point, with both countries having a “very similar perspective of the type of timeline”.
“It is part of the road back. At some point, both Australia and New Zealand will connect with the rest of the world again. The most obvious place for that to start is between the two countries,” says Scott Morrison.
Jacinda’s presence at the Australian National Cabinet meeting this morning was “without precedent”. The nation’s leaders were also in talks about the CovidSafe Tracing App, which Australia adopted from Singapore. The app has received mixed reviews from the public, with concerns about privacy breaches and personal data retraction. New Zealand are still yet to implement an app of a similar sort.
Compared to Australia, New Zealand’s government response has been much stricter, tighter, and definitive. Jacinda Ardern has been praised for handling the coronavirus pandemic better than other world leaders, offering simple nation addresses and working closely with the people. She has followed a flexible plan that tackled the issue early and effectively. Ardern and her entire cabinet, even took a 20% pay cut for at least six months, as she realises people are struggling financially.
Ardern said that it was critical that Australians do not bring any new coronavirus cases into New Zealand, and vice-versa. There’s a chance that the compromise could exclude some Australian states, where there are outbreaks and a higher number of cases.
“People wouldn’t travel if they had to stay on either side in quarantine for a two-week period and have to do the same when you return,” she said.
So, there’s still a long way to go before we get to ski and hike across those beautiful New Zealand mountains. But, it’s looking like that’s the first place we’ll all be heading when life begins to progress and things start to smooth out again.