New Zealand No trans-Tasman travel? That’s fine, Kiwis say
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No trans-Tasman travel? That’s fine, Kiwis say

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Most Kiwis are just fine about the trans-Tasman travel bubble being grounded, according to a poll. Photo: AAP
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New Zealanders have overwhelmingly endorsed the popping of the trans-Tasman bubble, according to a leaked poll.

The quarantine-free travel arrangement, which began in April and was suspended by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in July, has proved unpopular with Kiwis.

A poll by Labour’s pollsters UMR reported by Kiwi news outlet Stuff shows 54 per cent of New Zealanders believe opening the bubble with Australia was “the wrong thing to do”, with just 29 per cent in favour.

The numbers are worse when reduced to merely supporters of Ms Ardern’s Labour.

Fewer than one in four Labour voters, or 24 per cent, support the bubble and 59 per cent are against.

Amid rising cases in Australia, Ms Ardern slapped an eight-week pause on the trans-Tasman bubble in late July.

That timeline had the travel arrangement potentially kicking back into gear this weekend.

But COVID outbreaks in both countries mean there’s no appetite to restore links.

Still, Ms Ardern has foreshadowed a decision on the future of travel between Australia and New Zealand within days.

On Wednesday, COVID-19 Minister Chris Hipkins announced New Zealand would accept 3000 more overseas-based Kiwis through its quarantine system – though none from Australia.

MIQ head Megan Main said Kiwis in Australia were likely to be invited to book later this month.

“We’re planning another voucher release in September. We’ll be able to confirm that when a decision is made on the trans-Tasman bubble,” Ms Main said.

Managed quarantine has been sharply criticised by those trying to return to New Zealand, with demand far outstripping supply, leaving many stranded overseas or unable to return home.

The new places will go live on Monday, September 20.

Ms Main said “several thousand” more places will be released by the end of the year.

The leaked poll, undertaken in the first week of September, also includes data on New Zealand’s political parties for the first time since the country’s recent COVID-19 outbreak.

The NZ Herald reports Labour remains in a dominant position, with 45 per cent support.

Opposition National is on 26 per cent, with fellow right-leaning outfit ACT on 13 per cent.

The Greens are on 6 per cent, with Winston Peters’ populist NZ First party – currently out of parliament – on 4 per cent.

The next election is not due until late 2023.

-AAP