New Zealander living in Sydney says opening of trans-Tasman bubble would mean 'the absolute world'

Annette Holtham says it would mean the absolute world if a mooted trans-Tasman travel bubble was opened up next month, allowing her to visit family she has not seen in more than a year.
Holtham is one of thousands of New Zealanders living in Australia who are crossing their fingers that unrestricted travel between Australia and New Zealand opens up as expected in mid-April, following more than a year of border restrictions because of Covid-19.

Holtham, who has brain and lung cancer and is scheduled to complete radiotherapy treatment on April 14, hopes to be able to travel from Sydney to visit family in Lower Hutt, Martinborough, and Christchurch when the bubble opens.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is expected to announce plans for a trans-Tasman bubble next week.

When asked what unrestricted travel between the two countries would mean to her, Holtham said: The world, the absolute world.

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I would be so excited. I would be on the first available plane that they let me out on.

Holtham moved to Sydney from Wellington in the late 1980s, and visited New Zealand about once a year before Covid struck.

She was especially looking forward to visiting her son and his partner, to see the new house they were building in Martinborough, she said.

Wellington-born Emma Gluskie has family in New Zealand she is itching to visit once a mooted trans-Tasman travel bubble opens.

Holtham also has a sister in Martinborough, and several other family members in Lower Hutt and Christchurch, including another sister, nieces, a god-daughter, and great god-daughter.

Its been frustrating [not being able to visit], because you miss out on so much, she said.

Wellington-born Emma Gluskie lives in Sydney but on November paid $3100 to go through quarantine for two week, leave her husband and four children in Australia, to visit her mother and other family.

New Zealanders can currently can enter Australia without quarantining, but temporary restrictions have been imposed by the Australian Government on several occasions following isolated Covid-19 flare-ups in New Zealand.

Its highly difficult, and highly expensive. Its just not something you can do frequently, Gluskie said.

She said she was very close with her mother and had visited frequently before the pandemic, after her father died a couple of years ago.

The whole Covid thing has been extremely isolating for people like my mum, and for the elderly.

She said a travel bubble would mean everything to her and her family.

Christine Batten, who lives in Wellington, has a son, daughter-in-law, and two young grandchildren in Sydney who she has not visited for over a year.

You do worry about them, Batten said.

She and husband Chris used to visit about four times a year but had not visited since January last year.

The thing thats troubling us is, right now, we feel its timely that a bubble was formed ... I just think its unreasonably long for the country [to not have open travel from Australia].


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