Jacinda Ardern does not want lockdown to last 'a minute longer than needed', but says it won't finish early

The Prime Minister today told media she does not want New Zealand to stay at alert level four "a minute longer than needed", as the country is set to reach the mid-way lockdown point later this week. 

New Zealand is on lockdown for a four-week period that started March 25, to tackle the spread of Covid-19. 

"Let me be really clear, I don't want New Zealand to be at level four a minute longer than needed. But equally, there is no plan to move from level four early," Jacinda Ardern said. 

Earlier today, she quashed rumours of the Government extending the four-week coronavirus lockdown, reiterating no decision has been made yet.

"All actions we have taken to date is about minimising the amount of time we are at level four on order to stamp out the virus," Ms Ardern said today. 

"Our actions for the remainder of the period in level four will be about doubling down to ensure the gains made in the first half aren't squandered in the second."

Ms Ardern said there were broad set of indicators used to access moving between Covid-19 alert levels. 

"We are determined we stamp out Covid-19," she said, adding that meant broader testing and surveillance testing, "more and faster" contact testing and strong enforcement of lockdown and border rules. 

"Now is not the time to ease up, but the time for all of us to focus harder on the mission we have."

Ms Ardern said the lockdown time period of four weeks intended to stop wider transmission.

On TVNZ1's Q+A yesterday, National leader Simon Bridges said a "constructive conversation" was needed on whether contactless businesses should be able to run safely during lockdown.

"When you think about our economy, the longer we see the devastation, the job losses, the businesses going under, it's heart attacks, it's mental health issues, it's fatalities in its own way," Mr Bridges told host Jack Tame.

"Let's try and deal with some of the randomness where one is an essential service and one isn't, let's be agile and potentially we can move to a more risk-based system."

Today, Director General of Health Ashley Bloomfield announced there were 67 new Covid-19 cases in New Zealand, bringing the total number of infections to 1106.

Three people are in intensive care, two in Auckland and one in Wellington. Two are in a stable condition and one is in a critical condition.

There are now 176 people who have recovered from the coronavirus.