Covid-19: Auckland border restrictions to end on Dec 15

Source: 1News

After three months in lockdown, Auckland's border settings are to change from December 15, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced.

Jacinda Ardern

People in Aotearoa who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 or tested 72-hours before departure will be able to reconnect with the rest of New Zealand in time for Christmas and summer, Ardern said.

These requirements will be in place for the core summer period of December 15 to January 17.

The city has been in Alert Level 4 or Level 3 since the day after the first Delta Covid-19 case was announced in this outbreak on August 17.

"Aucklanders have faced restrictions for an extended period of time to keep the rest of New Zealand safe. But with increased rates of vaccination it’s time to open up the ability to travel again," Ardern said.

"Confirming December 15 as the date the boundary requirements change provides certainty. Aucklanders can now book summer travel and accommodation with confidence and businesses inside Auckland and around the rest of the country can plan for summer travellers."

Ardern said police would have operational discretion of the new rules, including spot checks as they do with drink driving.

Anyone breaking the rules could face an infringement fine of $1000, she added.

"A significant amount of movement happens across the country during this period so we have added this safety net to reduce spread."

The long-awaited update comes after pressure to allow families to reunite for Christmas and the summer holidays, with National leader Judith Collins telling Breakfast on Wednesday morning that Kiwis needed to "get on with having a life".

However, not everyone is happy with the Government's move to open the border.

Te Tai Tokerau Border Control and former MP Hone Harawira called the announcement "the summer of hell" and that it "will have devastating consequences for the people of Tai Tokerau".

"A lack of access to resources and an inequitable health system mean Māori suffer disproportionately from weakened immune systems, liver disease, cancer, kidney disease, heart disease and diabetes – the medical conditions that are natural breeding grounds for Covid-19 and its descendant, Delta," he said in a statement.

"Covid cases are climbing daily, and government’s refusal to allow Māori Health Providers access to critical medical data, means whānau, hapū and Iwi are facing a summer from hell as frustrated Aucklanders come rollicking through Tai Tokerau.

"Tai Tokerau Border Control will be working with local authorities, health authorities, police and most importantly Iwi, to try to limit the damage that open roads will mean to communities totally unprepared for the flood of visitors being released into the north."

The date announcement also comes after the Government officially launched My Vaccine Pass, the record of a person's Covid-19 vaccination status on Wednesday morning.

Once fully vaccinated, people in New Zealand can sign up to My Covid Record to request a pass. It can be saved in your phone or printed.

Read more about the pass here.