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New Zealand Prime Minister Ardern says no open borders for ‘a long time’

New Zealand Prime Minister Ardern says no open borders for ‘a long time’
May 5, 2020

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the country will not have open borders with the rest of the world for "a long time to come".

She was speaking after attending part of Australia's national cabinet meeting via video link at which the possibility of a 'trans-Tasman bubble', where people could go between Australia and New Zealand freely, and without quarantine was discussed.

Prime Minister Ardern said New Zealand and Australia were discussing a "bubble of sorts between us, a safe zone of travel".

However, she stressed there was "a lot of work to be done before we can progress" advising that "it's obviously been floated because of the benefits it would bring".

In response to a question about the country's tourism sector, Prime Minister Ardern explained "we will not have open borders for the rest of the world for a long time to come."

Tourism is one of New Zealand's biggest industries, directly employing almost 10% of the country's workforce, and contributing almost 6% of GDP.

Australia is New Zealand's second largest tourism market after China.

Prime Minister Ardern said any "trans-Tasman bubble" was only possible because of "the world leading actions" of both countries in combatting the Coronavirus.

On Tuesday, New Zealand reported no new cases for the second day in a row.

It has had fewer than 1,500 confirmed cases in total, and only 20 deaths. Last week it eased its lockdown from Level 4 to Level 3.

Image: New Zealand's Te Araroa trail. Courtesy of Helena Olmas.

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