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Todd Muller presses PM in Parliament on criteria around trans-Tasman travel bubble

Todd Muller pressed the Prime Minister on criteria for opening up a trans-Tasman travel bubble in Parliament this afternoon.

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Jacinda Ardern repeatedly stated it was also up to Australia to feel comfortable about opening its borders. Source: 1 NEWS

The National Party leader repeatedly asked Jacinda Ardern what it would take for the Government to be happy with a travel arrangement with our neighbours across the ditch.

"What expectations would she have of the Australian Government and their testing regime and their community transmission and their cases for her to feel comfortable that the New Zealand border could open?" he asked during question time.

"The same expectations we have for opening ourselves up in the way we have," Ms Ardern began her response.

"I’ve answered multiple times the ability to quickly contact trace, the ability to process tests in quick time, the absence in community transmission.

"If the member is suggesting that when Victoria is declaring 75 cases in one day and community transmission that we should be opening up to that state currently, the member is out of step with the New Zealand public."

In recent days Mr Muller has stated that keeping New Zealand's borders completely closed for the next year onwards is "simply untenable".

However, he has stopped short of asking for the borders to be reopened immediately, instead asking for clarity around timeframes and the necessary criteria that would need to be met to begin reopening to selected countries, mainly Australia.

In her answers, Ms Ardern repeatedly stated it was also up to Australia to feel comfortable about opening its borders and perhaps Mr Muller should be addressing his questions to his "Australian counterparts".

Mr Muller also asked if there needs to be a vaccine for Covid-19 before we can reopen the border to international travellers.

The Prime Minister replied that affective treatments and "rapid accurate tests" may also mean border restrictions can be loosened in the future if a vaccine is not found.

The exchange comes as Mr Muller yesterday called the Goverment's response to the pandemic over recent weeks "shambolic".

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The National leader said the country’s economy would not be recognisable if the borders were still closed in 12 to 18 months. Source: 1 NEWS

"The last two weeks has been shambolic and I am just making it very clear a shambolic internal border and a strategy that says we stay completely closed to everybody for the next 12-18 months is simply untenable," Mr Muller said.

"We won't recognise this country in terms of economic impact if that is our reality in 12-18 months' time."