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More from the press conference in which New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern refused to show confidence in the trans-Tasman travel bubble going ahead in the first quarter of 2021.

“It’s fair to say that things have changed a little bit since we set that goal and aspiration [for the first quarter of 2021].”

“I can report significant changes in the environment. We’ve had the Sydney outbreak and the response from Australia [following an Auckland outbreak]”

“We continue to work on it, but I have always had hesitancy over putting dates on these things … so much of this arrangement will be around how the different states behave and there hasn’t been a formula for it. So it’s very hard to establish a regime …”

Ardern said the knock-on effect of Australia deciding to shut its border in January “was quite significant from a commercial perspective”.


“We have to ask the question of whether airlines will want to operate in an environment where within three hours they can have cancellations for multiple days.

In that circumstance, we didn’t believe the border needed to close – it was – and that demonstrates the low tolerance and that means that it will have a commercial implication.

It’s not a simple issue to resolve.

Look what’s happening is the sovereignty of Australia to make its own decisions and the sovereignty of New Zealand to make its.

I do not apologise for a moment for being cautious about this – you cannot unscramble the egg.

It will be damaging to everyone if we open, close, open, close and then shut it permanently.

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NZ PM casts doubt on two-way trans-Tasman travel

Prime minister Jacinda Ardern has cast serious doubt on whether the trans-Tasman bubble will go ahead in the first quarter of this year, telling reporters at her weekly press conference “things have changed” significantly since Australia abruptly closed its borders to New Zealand in January, following a small Covid-19 outbreak at a quarantine facility in Auckland.

“In that instance, we didn’t believe the border needed to be closed, and it was, and that had significant commercial implications.”

“Our expectation was that the border wouldn’t close in that situation – and it did.”

Ardern said the sudden closure of the border has left New Zealand officials with “a lot of questions” over how the trans-Tasman bubble would function, and once the egg was scrambled – ie: the borders opened – they “couldn’t be unscrambled”.

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