Coronavirus: Winston Peters says new COVID-19 cases don't change trans-Tasman bubble plans

Winston Peters.
Winston Peters. Photo credit: Getty

By Katie Scotcher of RNZ

The Minister of Foreign Affairs is adamant the trans-Tasman bubble hasn't been jeopardised after a border botch-up resulted in New Zealand having two active cases of COVID-19.

But the Opposition says it is inevitable travel between the two countries will now be delayed.

Two women who arrived from Britain were granted compassionate leave to drive from Auckland to Wellington without first being tested for COVID-19, and have since tested positive.

The military has since been brought in to manage border quarantine and managed isolation.

Winston Peters said the bungled case had not put any future trans-Tasman bubble at risk.

"These two New Zealanders came out of the UK, a very COVID-troubled country, and we're dealing with COVID safe states," Peters said.

However, National Party leader Todd Muller said while the Government was yet to set clear criteria for when travel between the two countries could resume, the bungled case meant it was not going to happen any time soon.

"It makes the opportunity to connect with Australia further away, the opportunity to connect with international students less likely, and the tens of thousands of New Zealanders whose jobs will be at risk know that to be true."

The Prime Ministers of both Australia and New Zealand were handed a blueprint for a trans-Tasman travel bubble at the start of this month.

While details are scant, it is understood the plan would do away with the need for 14-day quarantine and align with international guidance.

The co-chair of the Trans-Tasman Safe Border Group, Scott Tasker of Auckland Airport, said the recommendations allowed for risks to be managed and gave travellers confidence they could travel safely.

RNZ

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