Niueans could be able to travel to New Zealand without quarantine as soon as mid-January.
Niue’s Premier, Dalton Tagelagi, said he had been in regular talks with the New Zealand government about a travel bubble.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has already announced travel bubbles with the Cook Islands and Australia, which should open in the first quarter of 2021.
Tagelagi, whose island is also part of the realm of New Zealand, said starting off with one-way travel was what he would prefer for Niue.
“I think the two way will be in the quarter, say March next, but I’m hoping for the one way to be in January or February at least.
“You know, a testing start and see how things are going but the main aim and big aim would be a two way quarantine free travel.”
If a Cook Islands travel bubble is successful, then Niue would likely follow soon after, Tagelagi said.
After years of record growth, the coronavirus pandemic had seen the country – population 1600 – have its tourism industry drop to zero.
While the government had been financially propped up by donor countries, particularly New Zealand, it had not been easy, Tagelagi said.
“The island’s people have fared remarkably well through one of the island’s toughest years…
“We had to revert back, I suppose, back to the old way of survival here where we tend to lean more towards the land and the ocean for self-sustain. It has been difficult but we are holding on really well.”
Tagelagi has asked for a review and modernisation of the island’s constitution.
He introduced a motion to Parliament calling for a constitutional review committee to meet next year.
Little had changed since the Constitution Act was introduced in 1974, and a refresh was needed.
“Things have changed a lot, so it’s more to re-look and review and amend and change some of the things within a constitution to suit the modern days that we are in,” he said.
Changes could include increasing the number of cabinet members, changing the election cycle, or having a prime minister instead of a premier, Tagelagi said.
Public consultation will be held next year.