'Possible' Kiwis could travel to some Australian states by Christmas, Ardern says

It's looking more possible for New Zealanders to be able to head across the ditch for Christmas.

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The Labour leader talked logistics of how Kiwis could spend the end of the year in Australia. Source: Breakfast

Labour Party leader Jacinda Ardern told TVNZ1's Breakfast this morning a state-by-state trans-Tasman bubble is "possible" before Christmas.

Her comments come after New Zealand First leader Winston Peters yesterday said a travel bubble with some Australian states – most likely Tasmania and Queensland – could be possible by Christmas.

Australia's Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham suggested New Zealanders would be able to go to Australia without having to quarantine when they arrive, but that no Australians would be able to come here initially.

Birmingham also said an agreement would mean only South Islanders would be permitted into the country due to the Auckland community Covid-19 cluster.

However, Ardern this morning told Breakfast she believed Australia was satisfied with how New Zealand was tracking amid the pandemic.

She said safety of New Zealanders was the priority.

"What we'd need to be assured of is that when Australia is saying 'okay we've got a hotspot over here' that the border around that hotspot means that people aren't able to travel into the states where we are engaging with in trans-Tasman travel."

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The state, which had 13 deaths since yesterday, is still learning details of its strict six-week lockdown. Source: 1 NEWS

Plans for a trans-Tasman bubble were progressing earlier this year before the Covid-19 surge in Victoria.

"The Australians have moved on their previous plans, so previously they wanted a whole of Australia approach and we said that that would slow things down," Ardern said.

"We did suggest that it would be up to them but if they moved state-by-state that might free things up a little sooner, and so they've moved on that. 

"They've now moved to a hotspot regime where certain parts won't be able to be part of free movement between Australia and across the Tasman."

Ardern said work at defining the "hotspot" regime was still underway, though.

"We're just working through the difference that that would make for New Zealand and the arrangements we would need, of course, to make sure that even if you're opening up to one state that border is contained to ensure that it's safe for New Zealanders and that's what we'll be working through."