Ardern says two-way Cook Islands travel bubble ‘next on our list’; announcement later today

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says she’ll be giving more details about when a two-way travel bubble can get underway with the Cook Islands this afternoon. 

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The Prime Minister will be discussing the arrangement at Cabinet this afternoon. Source: Breakfast

She told Breakfast discussing the bubble was “one of the topics” on Cabinet’s meeting agenda this afternoon.

“You know it’s next on our list. They, of course, are Covid-free. It’s about making sure when we do open up, that we can do so safely just in case.”

Advertising by Air New Zealand suggested the airline was ramping up its flights to Rarotonga from May 10. 

ACT Leader David Seymour had been calling for a travel bubble since July last year. He said he would welcome an announcement today.

"Here we are almost a year later and a date is only just about to be announced – likely still weeks away," he said in a statement.

"The Prime Minister’s paternalism of the Cook Islands has caused economic and emotional harm to our Pacific neighbours that will take years to fix."

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Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown says they’ll be “open for business”, despite no confirmation from New Zealand officials. Source: Breakfast

Last month, Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown said his country was “open for business” to New Zealanders from the beginning of May, regardless of whether a travel bubble is in place. 

Without the bubble, he said the islands’ economy was in freefall. 

"We're losing a million dollars a day in revenue, lost revenue from our tourism industry." 

Brown visited New Zealand last month to meet with officials about the travel bubble. 

Meanwhile, on Friday, a traveller from the Cook Islands was found to have breached the trans-Tasman travel bubble after they flew from Auckland to Perth without spending the required two weeks in New Zealand.