Rugby: PM Jacinda Ardern opens door to Bledisloe Cup test on election day

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has opened the door for New Zealand to host a Bledisloe Cup rugby test against Australia on election day.

NZ Rugby and Rugby Australia are currently wrangling over the timing of the traditional trans-Tasman, after the Aussies scooped up hosting rights for the revamped Rugby Championship tournament last week.

Strict COVID-19 quarantine requirements were identified as the critical issue in New Zealand losing the event and those restrictions now threaten the Bledisloe series, scheduled for October.

Australian coach Dave Rennie has hit out at the tight timelines proposed for his team to serve their isolation and then prepare for a series opener on October 10.

"That's just unacceptable and... we won't be playing a test under those conditions," says Rennie.

Delaying the clash a week would push the encounter onto an October 17 election day, a conflict that has been avoided previously.

Ardern insists her Government is still working through logistics surrounding the series, but is open to staging the two major events on the same day.

"I think that New Zealanders are perfectly able to engage in the Bledisloe Cup and an election," she says. "I'll be trying to do the same.

"I think the most important thing is that New Zealanders get that chance to see that match. It will be up to the rugby unions to determine what day they're held."

"These are unusual times and I'm pretty sure that we are able, as a nation, to accommodate both a rugby game and an election."

Ardern isn't concerned a clash would affect voter turnout.

"Traditionally, we'd be talking evening matches and polling closing in the evening. I also expect we'll see more early voting than we perhaps traditionally do."

After allowing the Rugby Championship to slip through our grasp, the Prime Minister is downplaying the chances of New Zealand losing the Bledisloe Cup games across the ditch.

"We're still working through some logistics, keeping in mind that for games between New Zealand and Australia, there is a different risk profile than, for instance, the likes of South Africa and Argentina, where we already had team members testing positive for COVID.

"I do believe we will find a workable solution, so we can make the Bledisloe Cup happen."

While Auckland will remain at Alert Level 2.5 for at least another week, Ardern has signalled the rest of the country may move from Level 2 to Level 1 as early as next Monday, opening the possibility of spectators at Bledisloe Cup tests.