Duncan Garner: We can't wait for Australia to kick COVID-19 - let's find new travel bubbles

OPINION: It's almost guaranteed that New Zealand will achieve COVID-19 elimination this week.

Monday will mark 28 days since the last person infected by community transmission left self-isolation. If we maintain our zero streak, Friday will mark 28 days of no new cases.

It's been a remarkable run of no new cases, no new clusters, no new anything. Zero new cases, zero new deaths, zero zero zero.

But not in Australia. Eighteen new cases have been recorded there in the past 24 hours.

New restrictions for weddings, rugby league games delayed due to COVID scares, and any thought of a quick, shared travel bubble has been burst for now.

I thought we were close, but alas, I can't convince myself any longer.

But, I've written a short poem to keep our spirits up:

Our neighbour Matilda is waltzing to a different tune, she'll no longer come waltzing Matilda with us. Not anytime soon.

So we sang and we watched and we waited for their COVID to be boiled, but the Aussies couldn't beat that nasty little COVID at all. Waltzing Matilda, that damn COVID is trying to kill her - I'll end it there, so as not to scare.

The great Anzac hope was that we could kick this virus on both sides of the Tasman sooner rather than later and get tourism and business moving again.

It can't go ahead when Australia has more than a dozen new cases a day.

New Zealand should now say to the Aussies - sorry fellas, clean yourselves up, we can't wait for you.

We're off to open new travel bubbles with anyone who can meet our 28-day test - Taiwan, perhaps, and the Pacific.

Why are we so reluctant to bubble up with the Pacific before Australia?

We can no longer afford to wait. Business needs to see something positive. The Cook Islands, at the very least, should be open to Kiwis from Monday - with no need to quarantine at either end of the journey.

Duncan Garner is the host of The AM Show.