Judith Collins keen on travel bubble with Pacific Islands which rely on tourism

Judith Collins is keen on travel bubble arrangements with Pacific Island nations which are free of Covid-19 and rely on tourism to survive.

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National’s new leader still thinks it’s too soon to look at a similar arrangement with Australia. Source: 1 NEWS

However, the new National new leader still thinks it’s too soon to look at a similar agreement with Australia.

At a media conference from Parliament this afternoon, she said a Cook Islands travel bubble "sounds smart" from our end, but "do they have confidence in our quarantine facilities? That’s one of the issues."

When asked by a reporter about whether it was fair for New Zealand to open travel bubbles that will help tourism in other countries when the sector is struggling here, Ms Collins replied: "If life was fair I'd be 5'10 and a gorgeous Slovakian model, but I'm not and it's not fair.

"You have to be reasonable and countries like the Cook Islands and Samoa, they are so dependant on tourism and if we starve that we end up having to pay in aid or something else."

She isn't so enthusiastic about the chances of a travel bubble with our neighbours across the ditch right now though.

"Australia has a real problem and is not safe at the moment."

Her comments come after 1 NEWS Pacific correspondent Barbara Dreaver today wrote in an opinion piece that the Cook Islands Government's inaccurate and startling announcement yesterday about a tourism bubble opening with NZ as soon as next week has done more harm than good.

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The 1 NEWS Pacific correspondent says the opening of the border needs to be done properly and can’t be rushed. Source: Breakfast

"Clearly a failed attempt at trying to force Jacinda Ardern’s hand into giving a date now and using mouthpiece media to do it, it’s a rookie mistake, an embarrassment, and has done nothing for healthy diplomatic relations," she wrote.

"Jacinda Ardern must have choked on her cornflakes when she heard the Cook Islands Deputy Prime Minister Mark Brown’s ambitious announcement.

"So, here are the facts – yes, discussions are happening between the two governments, yes, there is an agreement for a tourism bubble, but no date has been set as to when that will be as specific processes need to happen first.

"Everyone knows the Covid-free Cook Islands is crying out for tourists and that Kiwis are crying out for a safe island destination to holiday in.

"It’s a match made in heaven. But it’s not unreasonable for the New Zealand Government to ensure any border reopening with island neighbours gives as much consideration to safety as to speed.

"It needs to be done right the first time and it needs to be done properly."