New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has confirmed Victoria’s recent spike of coronavirus is delaying opening the boarders between New Zealand and Australia.
"At the moment, Australia wants to move as a country rather than state-by-state, and obviously issues in Victoria are delaying that," Ms Ardern told TVNZ1 over the weekend.
Several suburbs in Melbourne have gone into lockdown as the state recorded 108 new cases of coronavirus on Saturday and an additional 74 new on Sunday.
The PM said the framework of a trans-Tasman bubble would act as a framework for other nations as well.
"We have focused our efforts first and foremost on that trans-Tasman work, it gives us a model and a testing ground to make sure we can do it properly and we can do it right," she said.
Foreign Minister Winston Peters said previously the trans-Tasman bubble “should have been open, like level 1, yesterday” starting with Tasmania.
"What you've got is a federal system where the states are not even allowing inter-state travel - until we can crack that, we need to say either let's do it state by state and that's a Canberra decision, or let's wait until Australia sorts itself out," he said in June.
Ms Ardern said logistics with the Pacific were being discussed but they were preceding with caution.
"We want to make sure when we re-enter travel there we do it safely,” she told TVNZ1.
The Prime Minister also added that while she wasn’t necessarily waiting for a vaccine to COVID-19 before lifting border restrictions, she was waiting to see a change in transmission of the virus.
"Not just a vaccine, but whether we see an effective treatment for Covid, whether or not we see fast and reliable testing emerge, which could play a role in an exit strategy at borders, and whether or not we see a change in pattern to the way Covid is spreading.
"What will overlay all of our judgement and all of our work will be making sure we don't put at risk the freedoms New Zealand currently has."
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