21 May 2020

Scott Morrison and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern this month agreed to create a Trans-Tasman tourism zone, allowing flights between the two countries as soon as coronavirus lockdowns were eased.

Under the travel bubble proposal, Urbis chief economist Richard Gibbs said Australia and New Zealand would see a domestic demand boost of at least 0.4 per cent in the second half of 2020. 

He said the plan would boost confidence and help restore some of the $19 billion two-way trade between the nations in 2019, with economies around the world hit by the global downturn caused by the pandemic.

In 2018, two-way merchandise trade totalled around $17.6 billion.

The plan would boost confidence and help restore some of the $19 billion two-way trade between the nations in 2019.

Richard Gibbs View Profile

Food security and biosecurity could be strengthened, and a new global brand for COVID-19 safe tourism and culture promotion could be created.

“Both countries have reputations for clean, green food production and agriculture, but also very high-quality health management and delivery systems,” he said. “The containment measures were well implemented and well accepted by the populations.

“That has really stood the trans-Tasman alliance in good stead in terms of international reputations.”

Mr Gibbs, a former chief economist at Macquarie, called for Ms Ardern to become a permanent member of Australia’s national cabinet.

He said the brining together of state and territory leaders under Prime Minister Scott Morrison had seen Australia’s national governance move towards New Zealand’s system.

“We eliminated several layers of governance, in terms of bureaucratic and management mechanisms. We also removed a lot of the politics.”

Last year New Zealand welcomed more than 1.5 million Australians, who spent $2.7 billion. More than 1.4 million New Zealanders crossed the ditch to visit Australia, just behind China.

Ms Ardern and Mr Morrison have warned implementing any new travel arrangements would take months.

Trade and Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham said on Wednesday broader international travel was likely not possible for the rest of 2020.

The above is a snippet from the original article published by The Australian Financial Review. Read the full article here (paywall).