Jacinda Ardern met with Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown in Auckland on Friday to discuss a potential date for the bubble.
Business and tourism experts were hoping they would announce a firm date somewhere in the next month or two for the bubble, which would boost tourism in the South Pacific nation, which has been decimated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, many people were left frustrated when the leaders revealed a tentative date – May – which they felt was still too far away.
Well of course they are for no less than the the NZ PM said in January:
Officials of both governments are committed to working towards ensuring all safety protocols and response capabilities are in place for the resumption of two-way quarantine free travel between the two countries within the first quarter of 2021.
The first quarter ends on Wednesday.
Hayden said businesses in the Cook Islands are desperate for the bubble. Their government has said the country is losing $1 million in revenue per day the border is closed – $57 per inhabitant.
Businesses are also losing valuable employees to New Zealand, where they have more work options.
But Hayden said it’s not sustainable and if New Zealand isn’t willing to commit to a travel bubble, they will look to establishing travel bubbles with other countries first, including Australia.
Can’t blame them if they do.