Coronavirus: New Zealand says July too early to kick-start travel bubble with Australia

It is unlikely the first flights would be the Wellington-Canberra route.
It is unlikely the first flights would be the Wellington-Canberra route.PHOTO: AFP

WELLINGTON • New Zealand rejected calls by business leaders yesterday to restart flights to Australia within a month as too short a timeframe.

An Australian and New Zealand business lobby group said it intended to take a proposal to governments this week to kick off a travel bubble between the pair's capital cities with a test flight as soon as July 1.

Foreign Minister Winston Peters said no plans had been agreed as the two countries continue to work on a blueprint to resume travel, adding that that date "was too early". New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said earlier this month that September was a more realistic date for the resumption of flights.

"It will be over to the Australians more than us because they have got the federal system and they are still not flying interstate," Mr Peters told reporters.

He added that it was unlikely the first flights would be the Wellington-Canberra route, given that there were more populated cities in each country. "I have nothing against Canberra but I am for mass population movement by way of demand rather than capital cities," he said.

Falling numbers of active and new coronavirus cases in both countries have paved the way for the proposed easing of travel restrictions.

New Zealand reported no new Covid-19 cases for a 13th consecutive day yesterday and has just one active case.

Australia has reported daily single-digit and low double-digit numbers of new cases in recent weeks and has 490 active cases, with just 25 people in hospital.

REUTERS

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 05, 2020, with the headline 'NZ says July too early to kick-start travel bubble with Australia'. Subscribe