'It's a disaster': New Zealand takes swipe at Australia over coronavirus 'looseness'

·2-min read

New Zealand's Deputy Prime Minister, Winston Peters has taken aim at Scott Morrison for allowing coronavirus to “get out of control” in Australia, while our trans-Tasman neighbour boasts zero cases of community transmission in more than two months.

Appearing on Channel Nine’s Today Show on Friday morning, Mr Peters said eradicating the virus in Australia was “never going to happen” but described the recent spike of cases in Victoria as “awfully frustrating”.

“I am looking at the Premiers of the states in Australia, at Scott Morrison and I feel a great deal of regret that looseness allowed this thing to get out of control in my view, in Australia,” Mr Peters said.

The deputy PM said it was frustrating to watch the outbreak in Victoria. Source: The Today Show
The deputy PM said it was frustrating to watch the outbreak in Victoria. Source: The Today Show

“All in all it’s a disaster and of course the fear will be that it creeps outside of Victoria into Queensland, South Australia and beyond.”

On Thursday Victoria became the first state in Australia to record more than 300 cases in a single day since the pandemic began.

The Deputy NZ Prime Minister went on to say even with the continued rise of COVID-19 in Victoria he still felt the possibility of a trans-Tasman travel bubble exclusively between Tasmania and Auckland was still a possibility in the near future.

“We used to fly between our two countries and state in the 1990s. We can do it again,” he said.

Mr Peters said he had urged the Premier of Tasmania, Peter Gutwein, to push for clearance as it would be a learning curve as the two countries start to open borders again.

“Tasmania would have been a classic. It would have been a lesson to strive for, and Queensland to join as well,” he said.

However with the current state of cases in Australia, the mainland appears off limits to any trans-Tasman bubble plans.

When host Karl Stefanovic questioned if the travel bubble between the two countries should just include Tasmania, Mr Peters agreed.

“That would be right, the two little Islands sticking together.”

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