Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says the "disaster" Covid-19 outbreaks in Melbourne and Auckland have set back plans for the transtasman travel bubble.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he was still keen to establish travel arrangements with neighbouring countries and one media outlet reported he hoped they could be in place by Christmas.
But Peters today wasn't so sure, though he wouldn't be drawn on whether Christmas was too optimistic.
"We've been set back so hard," Peters said.
"We had the Melbourne disaster and then we had our own disaster. If we can fix it up in the way that we've got confidence in the Australian system and they've got confidence in ours, then yeah we can do that."
Peters said the travel bubble depended on both countries having tight borders.
"The protocols could be put in place in two days flat, quite frankly, but what you need to have ensured is the maritime and aviation surveillance in both countries is good enough to assure us that we've got a safe bubble."
Peters said a team in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was still working on the arrangements and he continued to think it was a "great idea".
He also said the travel bubble "New Zealand's idea - not Scott Morrison's".
Morrison said on Friday his priority was to reopen Australia's state borders but was still keen on organising travel arrangements with other countries.
"I'm trying to get the New Zealand travel bubble back in place, and I'm sure we'll take that up again soon," he said.
"I'd like to see that also if we can among the Pacific nations ... Japan is keen to do it, Singapore is keen to do this and there are a number of nations that are happy to do this with us. I can see that as the next step, but right now we're trying to get domestic borders open."
Last month, before the resurgence of Covid-19, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she hoped a travel bubble with the Cooks Islands would be up and running before the end of this year.
A draft agreement has been drawn up and phase two will be for director general of health Ashley Bloomfield and his Cook Islands counterpart to sign it off and to stress-test the system.
Bloomfield said today the Health Ministry was one of the agencies involved in the planning, but that work had been put on hold while it managed the outbreak.