PM: Traffic lights change may be regional

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern addressing media at Eden Park today.

Shifting from red to orange in the traffic light system could be done regionally, depending largely on hospitalisations, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has confirmed.

Ardern this morning spoke to media at Eden Park, touring the facility to see how preparations for the return of outdoor crowds are coming along.

She announced the changes yesterday, including an end to scanning and vaccine pass requirements, the removal of some vaccine mandates, and an easing of some gathering limits.

From this weekend there will be be no outdoor gathering limits, but indoor limits under red are set at 200.

The government copped criticism over the moves from other political parties with National particularly targeting the traffic light system, saying it was based on the soon-to-be-defunct passes and a simple set of rules would be more straightforward.

Today, Ardern says the traffic light system has the capacity for regions to be at different levels without worrying about enforcing a hard border.

"So we will consider whether some regions are ready to move sooner than others but the first point that we'll consider that will be in the first week of April."

She says hospitalisations will be a "big factor" in any such decisions.

Cabinet is expected to consider changes to the traffic light settings on April 4, which Auckland's Heart of the City business group says is too slow.

Hospitality businesses have also raised concerns over the "seated and separated" rules, which would limit the capacity of venues even further.

There had been costs from Covid-19 restrictions right from the beginning, Ardern says, and while no one would want to see continued anxiety caused by that the restrictions being retained were kept for good reason.

She also addressed questions about some of the mandates.

"Over the last several months when people have referred to the mandates, often they have been ones that have been put in place in workplaces rather than ones that government themselves have driven."

Some businesses imposed mandates based on government risk assessment advice which they could apply to specific roles.

Ardern says employers may need to go through that process again and some have already done so, but the government will continue to play a role in providing advice and guidance.

Businesses will not need to act on that advice immediately, however.

"It's not that instantly any business needs to switch off the way they've been mandating ... the public health advice is key.

"That's the primary consideration, we have to make sure there's a strong rationale for their use and then legal advice often sits behind that."

Ardern says the legal advice to the government is often based on the justification from a public health perspective, so it often supported the public health advice provided to the government.

"Each workplace will have its own specific circumstances so it's not for me to make those judgements as to whether or not those workplaces are the places where they'll continue or not but we'll continue to make sure we're just updating the advice."


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Posted on 25-03-2022 12:49 | By Slim Shady

All the rules and tweaks and needless complications is designed just to give the impression that they know what they are doing. The more complicated, the more the dummies buy into it. Magic trick.

This Government is a failure

Posted on 24-03-2022 17:23 | By TheCameltoeKid

Ardern has to go. She clearly lacks the leadership qualities we need for our Country! Every Minister under her leadership has overstated their objectives but failed to deliver them time after time. And, by the way, where’s Clarke?

No just drop it

Posted on 24-03-2022 16:52 | By an_alias

Its a waste of everyones time and is meaningless. It has stopped nothing and help no one.


Posted on 24-03-2022 15:21 | By Kancho

What a pity when we had the first lockdowns when most if NZ was virus free we still had a total lockdown. To the point that no one could work on their own , non contact law mowing, builders , gardeners etc . Now we have cases everywhere it’s complicated and probably confusing. Certainly they seem confused. Always another week before anything happens again

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