Summer travel allocations mulled for vaccinated Aucklanders

Source: 1News

A range of options is on the table as the Government considers how it can allow vaccinated people to leave Auckland this summer. 

Portrait of a young woman in a car looking at a map for directions.

It comes after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed the border around Auckland would remain in place over the summer holidays. 

However, fully vaccinated people may be able to travel beyond the city, Ardern told ZM's Fletch, Vaughan and Meghan on Wednesday morning.

She said a system needed to be designed that “allows people to move safely”, regardless of vaccination coverage outside of Auckland. 

Auckland was being treated differently from other parts of the country because of its high vaccination status and the fact it had already spent 11 weeks in some form of lockdown, she said.

That was echoed on Wednesday evening by a spokesperson for Covid-19 Minister Chris Hipkins. 

His spokesperson said options could include the use of vaccine certificates and Covid-19 testing “to ensure any movement could be done safely” beyond Auckland.

Hipkins told RNZ’s Checkpoint the Government was exploring an option that would see the days Aucklanders would be allowed to leave the region “spread”.

“It might be that people get allocated a time in which they can travel,” Hipkins told RNZ. 

“Certainly being fully vaccinated is going to open up a lot more freedom and a lot more opportunities.” 

The spokesperson for Hipkins clarified “no decisions have been made” as of yet. 

But, she said the Government had acknowledged that traffic flows would have to be considered if vaccine certificates were being checked at Auckland’s borders. 

ACT Party David Seymour criticised the comments Ardern made on the radio. 

“Jacinda said nobody will be allowed to leave Auckland this summer unless fully vaccinated. It’s divisive, impractical, and at odds with other promises she’s made,” Seymour said. 

“The promise is impractical. If Jacinda has ever been in or out of Auckland during summer she’ll know the traffic is bad enough without police checking every single car. 

“There will be delays lasting hours, and ironically, vaccinated people who can travel will be the ones waiting in these queues.”