World

Trans-Tasman travel bubble could block Victoria

Trans-Tasman travel bubble could block Victoria
NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has hinted a Trans-Tasman travel bubble could now be state-specific, because of Victoria's coronavirus surge.
The travel path between Australia and New Zealand was still being touted to open as early as September, but those plans are now in doubt.
"Ultimately, it really comes down to choices by Australia," Ms Ardern said this morning, on TVNZ.
Hikers enjoy the view from Cecil Peak towards Queenstown, New Zealand (AAP)
"Some of the states have actually put their own borders up, so they've created their own state bubbles, and so if Australia chose to say, 'Well okay, we have a Covid-free state,' and they're in a position where they can travel that would be up to them.
"We have a system that would work with a state-by-state approach or a whole country approach; if it's whole country we'll be waiting because obviously there is community transmission in Victoria and we can't risk that.
"It will come down to Australia really making those calls, but in the meantime we are of course making sure we have our house in order and our decision making framework ready to go."
Any Australian states New Zealand opened its border to would depend on them meeting our criteria, the NZ prime minister said.
Ms Ardern's comments come as New South Wales plans to close its border to Victoria from today.
9News reporter Chris O'Keefe said the NSW health advice has changed and the state's Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chanel has advised Premier Gladys Berejiklian it's time for a hard border closure with Victoria.
It is understood people will not be able to travel from NSW to Victoria, nor cross the state line from Victoria into NSW.
Last month it emerged high level talks were underway between the Queensland Government and New Zealand to open up a travel bubble.
Air New Zealand is involved in the discussions, which could see flights operate between New Zealand, Brisbane, Cairns, the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast.