Prime Minister Scott Morrison is likely to be one of the first Australians to skip New Zealand’s quarantine queue when the long-awaited trans-Tasman bubble is finally launched.
On Tuesday afternoon, NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will announce a start date for quarantine-free travel for Australians to visit NZ.
Given all Australian states save WA are already open to NZ visitors, this will effectively open the trans-Tasman bubble.
With the bubble will come the resumption of tourism, the reuniting of families, and the return of business-as-usual diplomacy.
The trans-Tasman PMs meet formally at the start of each year for the Australia-NZ Leaders’ Meeting, and it is Aotearoa’s turn to host in 2021.
Rather than hold the meeting virtually, both countries have deferred the talks to allow for an in-person gathering.
“We were due to have our leader-level meeting at the beginning of the year. Our hope had been to do that face-to-face,” she said in Wellington on Tuesday morning.
“We both are keen to get on with it as soon as possible and the venue is due to be New Zealand and so we’re looking forward to welcoming him here at a date that can be mutually decided upon.”
The two leaders spoke on Easter Monday as NZ gears up for the border changes.
At the last meeting, Ms Ardern chastised Mr Morrison for Australia’s deportations policy, saying “do not deport your people, and your problems”.
The NZ leader has not left the country since, while Mr Morrison has travelled to Japan to meet new prime minister Yoshihide Suga.
Queenstown has been mooted as a possible venue given NZ’s need to spruik its suffering tourism industry.
“Those leader-level talks are always incredibly important to both sides,” Ms Ardern said on Tuesday.
“I imagine that will be something we’ll set a date around in fairly short order.”