The New Zealand tourism industry needs a trans-Tasman bubble and it needs it now, according to Queenstown Lakes District Mayor Jim Boult.
Responding to this morning's announcement by the Australian government of a A$1.2 billion package for tourism on that side of the Tasman, Boult said a travel bubble is critical for Aotearoa.
"I believe it's time to urgently consider opening the border between our countries and have made representations to the government to that effect. A trans-Tasman bubble in the short term is critical to survival of our local economy," Boult told Newshub.
He said the health of Kiwis has rightly been at the forefront of Aotearoa's COVID-19 response, but now is the time a travel bubble with Australia should be seriously considered.
"We are at a point where both New Zealand and Australia have demonstrated capability in dealing with isolated outbreaks of COVID-19," he said.
A recent business confidence survey showed almost a third of Queenstown's CBD businesses are unlikely to continue beyond the next three months unless New Zealand opens its borders to Australia.
On Thursday, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a A$1.2 billion package to revive the travel sector including subsidising 800,000 domestic flights and offering cheap loans to small tourism operators.