Ardern working on resolution for Auckland summer travel

Source: 1News

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says she's hoping a decision on the date for reopening Auckland's borders will be made by the end of November.

It's been nearly 12 weeks that Aucklanders have been in lockdown, but those in the city may be getting more freedoms from this week.

Last week, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Auckland would, in principle, move to step 2 of Alert Level 3 on Tuesday at 11.59pm - meaning retail can open and larger gatherings can be held outdoors.

But with summer and Christmas creeping up, the big question on everybody's mind is will Aucklanders be able to leave the city over the holiday period?

Ardern on Monday told Breakfast, "we are absolutely clear Aucklanders must be able to move around beyond the border for the Christmas and summer period".

However, when pressed on giving a date so people could arrange holiday plans, she said the Government hasn't yet set a precise date.

"The logistical challenge that we have, that you will have heard us be very open about, is that around that Christmas and summer period we can expect top have up to 30 and 40,000 people trying to move around that land boundary and we're working on ways or whether or not indeed it's possible to set up checks that just don't lead to really prolonged delays," Ardern said.

"That's what we're working through at present but let me be clear, we need to be able to allow Aucklanders to move and we will."

Ardern also said, "we're considering whether or not you could use vaccine certificates and/or testing as a way to make it safer".

"It is a very large logistical challenge that we have not yet resolved. We know what our principal objective is and that's Aucklanders reuniting for others for Christmas, we're getting through the how on that and once we have further details we'll share them."

Ardern said Government usually doesn't share what they're considering around such decisions as it can create confusion, but she wanted to be transparent with New Zealanders.

But without a firm date, Breakfast host Jenny-May Clarkson said it made it hard for Aucklanders to plan trips and book flights.

"Are you hoping that decision might be made by the end of the month?" Clarkson asked Ardern.

"Yes, absolutely, as quickly as possible," Ardern replied. "At this stage, though, it is clear that the land boundary is particularly difficult and that's what we're trying to work our way through.

"Half my family are in Auckland and they too were asking me last night 'what do you think's going to happen for Christmas?' Absolutely understand the need for planning and the desire for people to plan.

"We are working on finding a resolution to this issue as quickly as we can, but what I can say is we know and we will allow Aucklanders to reunite with others for Christmas."