New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has stressed one thing when it comes to Australians visiting her country under the new trans-Tasman bubble arrangement, and it's something we've all been desperate for: predictability.
Speaking to Traveller's podcast, Flight of Fancy, Ms Ardern said that Australians should consider New Zealand as just another state, and to plan for a holiday there accordingly – only, this time they should know what to expect in the case of a COVID-19 outbreak.
"What we're looking for is predictability," Ms Ardern said. "So if, for instance, a border security guard over in Australia tests positive through routine testing, and contacts around them are reasonably straightforward, you wouldn't see any change in our travel as a result of that.
"But if you have a situation that causes a state itself to lock down, say they're a bit worried that they don't know the origin of something but they believe they can get in under control and they want to lock down for a few days, we would likely mirror that [with flights being paused]. And if there are cases of unknown origin that are part of a wider community outbreak and cause a state to lock down for a longer period, we'd likely just reflect that as well [with flights suspended].
"So it will be quite predictable and similar to what other states will do in Australia."
The New Zealand Prime Minister's plan is already being tested, after an airport worker in Auckland tested positive to COVID-19 just two days into the bubble arrangement. So far, both Kiwi and Australian governments have held their nerve, with no changes made.
Ms Ardern has encouraged Australians to embrace the possibility of overseas travel that the trans-Tasman bubble allows, saying only that travellers need to allow for the possibility that their plans will be affected by a COVID-19 outbreak.
"We're just saying to travellers, just prepare," Ms Ardern said. "Because it's unlikely [plans will be affected], but still, prepare. And you know, maybe it will be your good fortune to be stuck in New Zealand on a ski field for a couple of extra days."
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