Auckland's hard border will stay in place over summer with only double vaxxed people allowed to escape the locked down city, according to the Prime Minister.
As Christmas and the much looked forward to summer holiday period is fast approaching, people around the country are wondering whether they will be able to reconnect after many, many months of restrictions.
Jacinda Ardern told ZM's Fletch, Vaughan and Meghan this morning that the Government was still working through the logistics of enabling Aucklanders to leave the city and visit friends and family for Christmas and over summer - but it would only apply to those who were double jabbed or had returned a test.
Auckland's hard border will remain over summer to enable the rest of the country to boost its vaccination rates. (Photo / Michael Craig)
"If anyone wants to make sure they are able to leave over the summer that's another reason to get vaccinated."
The issue to letting vaccinated Aucklanders leave wasn't so much other regions reaching the 90 per cent target, but how they could manage 30,000 cars at a time trying to leave while checking they had returned a vaccine certificate and produced a negative Covid test before they did, she said.
While Auckland's hard border did not feature long term in the Government's new traffic light system, Ardern revealed it did currently play a part in preventing the spread of Covid while other areas increased their vaccination rates.
Areas such as Northland, Tairāwhiti and the West Coast DHBs are particularly lagging at the moment all hovering around mid-60 per cent for double doses.
"We do still want Aucklanders to move around though particularly over summer and Christmas so what we are looking at for now is how do we keep in that hard border but some checks around it so more people can move but we might say use testing or vaccinating status to help people move around a bit more," she told the hosts.
But managing something of such a large size and scale was not a small thing to overcome because New Zealand wasn't used to using borders in the ways other countries such as Australia did.
"We are having to establish our own systems at borders so how do you do that when you have up to 30,000 cars moving at a time.
"So it's not actually about the overall vaccination status of the rest of the country - that's not what it's dependent on - it's on our ability to set up a system that allows people to move safely."
Despite case numbers still rising in the city, Ardern said Auckland was being treated separately to everyone because of the hard border, the fact they had been facing restrictions for so long and had a higher vaccination rate.
She acknowledged things were really tough as they went through a transition period, but promised things would get better soon especially with Auckland potentially reaching the 90 per cent target in about three weeks and then able to move to the traffic light system where they would have much more freedoms within the city's boundaries.
"This is a really, really rough spot we are all in, but it is going to get better - it absolutely is."
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