A-G in dis­cus­sion on in­clu­sion in an ex­panded Trans-Tas­man Travel Bub­ble


Talks are on­go­ing which may re­sult in Fiji be­ing in­cluded in an ex­panded Trans-Tas­man Travel Bub­ble. At­tor­ney-Gen­eral Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum con­firmed yes­ter­day he had spo­ken with Aus­tralian For­eign Min­is­ter Marise Payne.

He also spoke with the New Zealand Trade Min­is­ter David Parker. Dis­cus­sions fo­cused on an ex­panded bub­ble, its re­quire­ments and the time pe­riod within which New Zealand and Aus­tralia are look­ing at open­ing up their bor­ders.

“These things do not get re­solved overnight or de­ci­sions are made overnight,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

“There are var­i­ous risks to be con­sid­ered. We have put our hands up. We want to look at how we can place our­selves in a more prime po­si­tion re­gard­ing, for ex­am­ple, the le­gal frame­works.”

While New Zealand’s first pri­or­ity is open­ing up to Aus­tralia, Mr SayedKhaiy­um sug­gested that there should be a more nu­anced ap­proach in terms of deal­ing with the Pa­cific.

“Pa­cific Is­land coun­tries are dif­fer­ent from each other, so rather than think­ing that if they open up the bub­ble, they have to open it up to every­body.

There are dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ences of dif­fer­ent Pa­cific Is­land coun­tries, vis-à-vis COVID-19.

“There are dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ences, dif­fer­ent ca­pac­i­ties and ca­pa­bil­i­ties of dif­fer­ent sys­tems and they need to as­sess each coun­try in­di­vid­u­ally - that’s what we tried to high­light.”

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said per­ti­nent as­pects to con­sider in­clude tem­per­a­ture test­ing for pas­sen­gers be­fore and af­ter a flight, air­line tick­ets, travel in­sur­ance, quar­an­tine costs, and over­all ex­penses.

“All of that needs to be worked out. There needs to be a de­tailed anal­y­sis on that. There are a num­ber of mat­ters that needs to be ad­dressed. We are quite keen to be part of the travel bub­ble,” he said.

“We need to be very proac­tive in the man­ner in which we mit­i­gate those risks and put our best foot for­ward so that it gives con­fi­dence not only to Fi­jians, but to for­eign­ers who want to do busi­ness with Fiji.”

An Air New Zealand cargo flight will ar­rive to­day, an in­di­ca­tion of the trade that is tak­ing place be­tween the two coun­tries.

Aus­tralian and Kiwi tourists con­sis­tently make up the big­gest num­ber of tourist ar­rivals every year; the Australian­s, more than the Ki­wis.

In April last year, Fiji recorded 32,850 tourists from Aus­tralia and 16,126 from New Zealand.

Photo: Ron­ald Ku­mar

Asian Devel­op­ment Bank Re­gional Direc­tor of the Pa­cific Sub-re­gional Of­fice Masayuki Tachi­iri (left), with At­tor­ney-Gen­eral and Min­is­ter for Econ­omy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum af­ter sign­ing the agree­ment at Ro Lal­a­bal­avu House in Suva on May 7, 2020.

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