Auckland mayor Phil Goff has praised new plans to get the city back up and running again after months of being in a Covid-19 lockdown.
Speaking about the Government's big announcement outlining how the country will function during the pandemic without using lockdown measures, Goff said it provided a clear goal now for people in the city.
"The new framework sets a clear goal for us to get 90 per cent of Aucklanders double vaccinated and it contains powerful incentives for people to get vaccinated if they want to enjoy the freedoms that others are enjoying."
Goff said the new initiative would reduce the need for the city to go into a sudden lockdown every time a Covid community case popped up and which have had damaging effects on the city's economy.
They had also markedly restricted the way people live, he said.
"All of us would like to have absolute certainty around the timeframe for getting back to normality. However, our progress will rely on getting people vaccinated so the transition happens safely and some flexibility is needed to ensure that is the case."
On business, Goff welcomed the Government's announcement of a support package for Auckland businesses affected by the lockdowns and said it was a step in the right direction.
"Doubling the rate of the Resurgence Support Payment will help many businesses cope until they are able to resume more normal operations at a lower level of restrictions," he said.
"It will help keep businesses alive and people in work."
Goff acknowledged that many local businesses that could not operate normally, or at all, under the current restrictions are struggling and he had advocated strongly to the Government for more financial support for them.
The $60 million package announced for business advice and mental health support in Auckland is in response to business requests and will help businesses adapt to the next phases of the Covid response effort, he said.
"The support package announced today is substantial. Around 70 per cent of the $940 million being spent each fortnight under this package will benefit Auckland businesses.
"It will help ease the difficulties businesses in our city are facing and help them get to the next stage of the pandemic response once vaccination rates are high enough," Goff said.
"Low-income households whose incomes have been affected are also suffering the effects of lockdown. I welcome the additional flexibility and support that will be available to single people and families who will be eligible for hardship assistance."