More NZ travel bubble good news as Air New Zealand announced it is recalling 175 cabin crew furloughed due to COVID shutdowns.
That follows Monday’s announcement by NZ’s PM Jacinda Ardern that her cabinet had “agreed in principle to establish a travel bubble with Australia in the first quarter of 2021”.
But despite the almost immediate flood of snow holiday offers and deals popping up on social feeds and edms, there is still no actual date set.
It’s taken way longer than many, us included, thought it would.
Back in May, Ardern’s then deputy Winston Peters was advocating a Tasmania only bubble to kick start things.
PM Ardern said on Monday she was still worried about the need for contingency plans to be in place in the event of an outbreak in Australia. Well of course, there should be plans ready for an outbreak there, and vice-versa.
Then the question becomes what constitutes an outbreak? That there may be a case or two down track is almost inevitable. But to call that an outbreak, and to stop and start, or stall bubble arrangements as a result would be over the top. And make it pretty impossible for airlines to resume anything like normal operations so people could confidently book trips – including their next trans-Tasman snow trip.
There have been no serious outbreaks or disasters on either side of the ditch for months. The opposite in fact, highlighted by Victoria, which has gone 7 weeks without a single community COVID transmission case.
As NZ opposition MP Chris Bishop pointed out in response to Ardern’s announcement, “New Zealanders have been able to travel to Australia without quarantining since October 16, but the same won’t happen in New Zealand until well into next year, costing our businesses and their staff dearly.”
“Today’s news gives the glimmer of progress without any real substance to it. Businesses are still none the wiser on when we will see Australians able to enter New Zealand without quarantining” Bishop told 1NEWS.
COVID Vaccines free for all in NZ and their Pacific Neighbours
Ardern confirmed today that New Zealand has secured more than enough vaccines to cover their entire population, plus they a $NZ 75 million program to cover their Pacific island neighbours which is great to see. The free rollout to the general public won’t take place till the second half of 2021, and likely take through to 2022 to complete.
But their most exposed people will get it from March, including border staff and frontline health care workers.
So yes, things are looking a lot better all round. But as for actually booking your next trip, it’s still really wait and see mode.
For example, today’s reports of 4 cases in NSW are headline news in New Zealand. Enough to delay the bubble again?
Although if you are planning on heliskiing, you could take a punt on Mt Cook Heliskiing’s earlybird voucher deal and save $NZD 200.. How nice would it be to be back there?