A quarantine-free travel bubble with the Cook Islands just got one step closer to reality.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said officials are set to visit the Cook Islands on November 14 for face-to-face talks, with the goal of confirming a safe travel bubble.
"While I don't wish to put any time-frames on a potential travel bubble, it is my aim and hope that this can resume as soon as is safely possible," Ardern said on Monday.
"And this on-the-ground visit by officials to the Cook Islands is the next step in that process."
Ardern says although she does not expect to make an announcement within the next week, positive moves are being made.
"Keep in mind it's not just New Zealand saying 'we're ready to go', the Cook Islands need to give their approval too, and that's really important because they have a COVID-free status."
Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown is heartened by Ardern's comments.
"I am heartened by PM Ardern's comment that things are 'moving positively' and appreciate that the NZ Cabinet took the time to discuss this quarantine-free travel agreement at today's Cabinet meeting," he said.
"I agree with PM Ardern that no decision will be made unless we are both assured of the safety of both our people's in any proposed arrangement. Our people's safety is paramount," he said.