Aus PM welcomes NZ travel bubble

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Tuesday welcomed New Zealand’s decision to open its borders to travellers from the country.

Earlier in the day, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that Australians will be allowed to enter the country without mandatory quarantine from April 19.

It comes about six months after Australia opened its borders to New Zealand travellers in October 2020.

Morrison said the opening of the travel bubble both ways was the “first of many steps to come” as Australia begins to slowly open itself up to the rest of the world.

“This is the first of many more steps to come, I believe, as we get back to a normal, more normal position, not only over the course of this year but beyond,” he said in Canberra.

“This will mean importantly, jobs for Australia.”

It will mark the first time that Australians will be able to freely leave the country since March 2020 when the National Cabinet banned citizens from leaving the country except for essential reasons.

Morrison flagged bubbles opening with Singapore, Japan and South Korea but warned they could be months away.

He also defended the speed of Australia’s Covid-19 vaccine rollout, saying delays have largely been a result of international supply issues.

“There were over 3 million doses from overseas that never came. And that’s obviously resulted in an inability to get 3 million doses out and distributed through the network,” Morrison said.