“The arrangement recognises the special ties between New Zealand and the Cook Islands,” New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in a statement.

Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown called the plan “the next step towards resuming many aspects of life in the Cook Islands that have been disrupted by COVID-19, including access to health and education, and reuniting family and friends”.

About 80,000 New Zealanders identify as Cook Islanders, according to New Zealand figures, several times the Cook Islands population itself. The Cook Islands is an independent country but its citizens automatically get New Zealand citizenship.


NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said previously that there will be no Australasian travel bubble until Australia records 28 days without community transmission.

South Australia last recorded a coronavirus case connected its outbreak two weeks ago.

Tourism and Trade Minister Simon Birmingham has said the Australian government wants it in place and operating before Christmas.

The Board of Airline Representatives of New Zealand (BARNZ) executive director Justin Tighe-Umbers called for an Australia-NZ travel bubble to be set up as soon as possible.

“Cook Islands – great! Now let’s get the transtasman bubble going too and use a country-risk based model to bring together family and friends from both sides of the Tasman,” Tighe-Umbers told the New Zealand Herald.

with James Massola

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