Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says a transtasman travel bubble could "open up next week" if Australia can guarantee they'd "send safety to our country, not danger".
But that could happen soon, Peters said.
The Australian government is looking at a plan that would initially allow some New Zealanders to travel there without needing to quarantine upon arrival.
The travel bubble proposal would at first only be open to residents of the South Island — which doesn't have any active community cases.
Peters said it was his view a transtasman bubble would happen "a lot more quickly than people think" and "much sooner than Christmas".
"If the Australians could give us a guarantee about their protocols and send safety to our country, not danger we could open next week - but we need that guarantee."
Work on the prospect of allowing travel between parts of both countries that were not affected by Covid-19 - dubbed a "hotspot arrangement" - has been ongoing despite Auckland's second outbreak.
But the New Zealand First leader was not in favour of it being a one-way arrangement.
"If it's all Aussie's way then we're going to be drained of our wealth because we're going to be going offshore with no reciprocation from Australia."
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said this morning that a state-by-state transtasman bubble was "possible" before Christmas.
The speed on getting it underway would depend on excluding states where Covid was still disrupting communities, citing Victoria, and assurances there were firm borders between those states with infected communities and those you were opening up travel with.
"And then you've also got to make sure you've got routes that do not have transit passengers on them," Ardern told Newstalk ZB.
"Currently everything that's coming in and out of Australia and New Zealand has travellers coming in and out of Covid areas so you have to completely segregate those fliers."
She said it was important to know how Australia was dealing with border issues before any flights took off but gave no timeframe for this to happen.
It was something she would be raising with Scott Morrison when they spoke next.
Australian Federal Trade, Tourism and Investment Minister Simon Birmingham yesterday said he hoped Aussies would be able to travel to New Zealand by the end of 2020.
"We're working hard to make sure every safety precaution and measure is in place through our airports, our border protections, screening processes, to make sure people can travel safely between Australia and New Zealand without risk of encountering other air travellers that may be coming in from higher risk countries.
"Ultimately, whether New Zealand opens up to Australia will be a matter for New Zealand, but we are working to make sure we're ready and hopefully we can see those steps taken this year."