on air now

Australia and New Zealand to form trans-Tasman bubble

Article image for Australia and New Zealand to form trans-Tasman bubble

Australia and New Zealand have struck an agreement to create a trans-Tasman travel bubble – but neither country is prepared to commit to a timeline.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern joined Australia’s National Cabinet meeting on Tuesday and admits a lot of work still needs to be done before the trans-Tasman bubble becomes a reality.

As coronavirus restrictions begin to ease, Scott Morrison said travel between the two countries was “the most obvious place to start” but warns “it’s not something that’s about to happen next week,”

The economic relationship between Australia and New Zealand is worth about $130 billion and includes roughly $30 billion in bilateral annual trade.

Nearly 1.4 million people travel back and forth across the Tasman every year and the free movement of people is vital for tourism in both countries.

Economist Tim Harcourt says Australia and New Zealand have reaped decades of economic benefits after a pioneering free-trade agreement was struck in the 1980s.

“Before that, if New Zealand wanted to get a carton of frozen peas over to Australia, it had to go through cabinet,” Mr Harcourt tells Brooke Corte.

“Both countries have opened up their economies with each other… and the original free trade agreement kick-started the free trade agreements both countries have signed with the rest of the world,”

Click PLAY to hear the full conversation: