Jacinda Ardern has brushed off participating in a cringeworthy singalong after expressing her delight in welcoming Australians back to New Zealand for the first time in more than a year.
The long awaited trans-Tasman travel bubble between the two countries has been cleared for take-off from April 19 following the coronavirus pandemic.
An excited Ms Ardern appeared on the Today show on Wednesday morning to discuss Tuesday’s announcement with hosts Karl Stefanovic and Leila McKinnon.
The interview ended awkwardly when the Kiwi prime minister refused an invitation to sing along to a classic New Zealand hit from her childhood, Dave Dobbyn’s Slice of Heaven.
‘We have got a special song for you this morning. We would love you to sing along, but it may be beneath you, but we will give it a go anyway,’ Stefanovic said.
Ms Ardern quickly shut down the invitation to join in.
Australians are welcome back to visit New Zealand from April 19 following Kiwi prime minister Jacinda Ardern’s announcement on Tuesday
‘There is absolutely zero chance of me singing along to this track right now,’ she replied.
‘Politicians should not dance, and they should not sing.’
The interview began on a much happier note with Ms Ardern keen to welcome back Australians with
‘I can’t believe I’m saying this, but we have absolutely missed you. We want you to come and see us again,’ the Kiwi prime minister beamed.
‘Distance makes the heart grow fonder, that’s definitely the case for us here I think.’
During the interview, Ms Ardern defended the delays in opening up the travel bubble, insisting they had to get it right.
The new trans-Tasman travel bubble will reunite hundreds of families who haven’t seen
‘If you think about when we first started talking about having a Trans-Tasman arrangement back between we were talking about the test being 28 days free of any case outside of a managed isolation facility and the time that we have taken to establish this protocol and this arrangement we have learnt so much,’ she explained.
‘We now believe and know that we can safely manage outbreaks without necessarily having that prolonged month-long period in the aftermath of a case.
‘Time has been of benefit to us. I think we now have a regime that will be flexible, but pretty sophisticated, and ultimately it means now we are in a position to welcome you here and to do it safely, which is what we are all so excited about.’
Australians should expect new rules such as temperature checks and mask wearing the next time they cross the Tasman.
Ms Ardern also warned of possible disruptions to the trans-Tasman when outbreaks occur.
‘I think we all acknowledge that in a COVID environment just in the same way that anyone in Australia who is travelling between states is prepared for outbreaks and there possibly being disruption, and to view New Zealand as another state in that way,’ she said.
‘If there is a hot spot in one of the states of Australia we may just act in the same way that another state would, with just limitation of people to come in and out of our borders until that issue is resolved.’
‘We are trying to make it as simple for travellers as possible.’