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The federal government says it will do “whatever it takes” to help open up direct flights between Tasmania and New Zealand for the upcoming summer tourism season. Discussions between Australia and New Zealand have been ongoing since May, but suffered a setback due to Victoria’s coronavirus second wave. Direct flights between Hobart and New Zealand have also been the subject of investigation by the Tasmanian Government and Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton. Assistant Minister for Regional Tourism Jonathon Duniam said the government had its sights set on opening up trans-Tasman travel for summer. MORE ON THE TASMANIA-NEW ZEALAND TRAVEL BUBBLE: “I can say that the Commonwealth is prepared to do whatever it takes, obviously we need to work through a process to ensure that we can support the [Hobart] airport to deliver these services,” he said. “I’m very keen on this happening, and I want to see these New Zealanders coming here as soon as possible, and spending their hard earned cash here supporting our great tourism businesses. “Like with the domestic borders, I’d like people coming and participating in our tourism industry so that we do have that high during the summer months. I’d love to see them come here through that period and I’ll be working towards that timeline as well.” Tasmania’s current position is to ease domestic border restrictions with Western Australia, South Australia, Queensland, the Northern Territory, ACT and possibly NSW by December 1, however this could be brought forward to the end of October. A decision was subject to approval by the State Controller. Tourism Industry Council Tasmania chief executive officer Luke Martin said having a direct service between Hobart and New Zealand would be essential. IN OTHER NEWS: “The reality is that it’s incredibly likely that New Zealand will be the only international market open to Australia, and if that happens, that travel bubble, then the best way for Tasmania to get its biggest piece of the pie is direct service,” he said. “We think that particularly with a city like Auckland, that’s a market that there’s a very big difference between them coming to Tasmania having to go via another port, or coming direct. “If there is to be a travel bubble, there are risks around New Zealand as well because they are another destination that will be competing for that mainland market, we’ve got to make sure we’re at the front of the queue for New Zealanders.” Labor says there is a contradiction between the government allowing seasonal workers and returning fly-in-fly-out workers to enter Tasmania, but not travellers from safe states. Tasmanian Labor leader Rebecca White said it was difficult to see how public health could allow one cohort, and not the other. “They should be applying the same public health advice and doing that consistently so we have consistent rules, whether it be for visitors or families wanting to be reunited,” she said. “This is the large part of the confusion and frustration across industry, is the lack of the government explanation around what public health advice they are receiving and therefore how they use that to make decisions. “If it’s safe for us to travel between destinations – just like … for seasonal workers, just like for Tasmanian FIFO workers coming home – then surely it can be for other residents and for other visitors too.” Premier Peter Gutwein earlier stated that the circumstance of each jurisdiction would guide the reopening of domestic borders.