COVID-19 trans-Tasman bubble: Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson tight-lipped on start date

The Government has yet to set a date for a trans-Tasman travel bubble, according to the Deputy Prime Minister, despite reports it's expected to begin as early as next week.

A date is set to be announced by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern later on Tuesday for when a bubble will open, but sources have told The Australian newspaper it's "pretty much definite" it will be on April 12 or 19.

But Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson told The AM Show while there are promising signs, nothing is locked in as yet.

"We haven't made that decision," Robertson said on Tuesday morning. "Cabinet hasn't met yet. We're a pretty dedicated bunch but we don't meet before 7:30 in the morning."

The trans-Tasman bubble would allow New Zealanders and Australians to travel between the countries without the need to quarantine. Robertson said Cabinet would work through the final details on Tuesday before an announcement is made.

He said it was something the Government had been working towards.

"It's, in many ways, a reward for the sacrifices of New Zealanders for a long period of time."

He said the Government has carefully worked through the details with airports and airlines.

"We want to be able to say to New Zealanders and Australians, 'actually, this is what's expected of you. Before you fly, this is what happens in the unfortunate event of an outbreak.'

"We'll make announcements later on."

Robertson, also the Finance Minister, said a recent outbreak in Brisbane illustrates the potential risks of travelling across the ditch. The city entered a three-day snap lockdown last week after a community cluster emerged. 

Brisbane is the capital of Queensland state - a popular travel spot for New Zealand tourists.

"It's a good example of what can happen in the middle of an arrangement like this and [it's] one of the reasons we've been really clear that this is a 'flyer, beware' situation," Robertson said.

Meanwhile, Queenstown Mayor Jim Boult is hopeful the trans-Tasman bubble will bring in much-needed business for the resort town's ski season.

He told The AM Show the situation is dire for many businesses.

"Businesses are going broke here," he told host Duncan Garner.

Ardern will announce the date at a post-Cabinet meeting press conference at 4pm - you can watch it live on Three and at