New Zealand to move to traffic light system next Thursday night

New Zealand will move to the traffic light system next Thursday December 2 at 11.59pm, meaning Friday December 3 will be the first day it kicks in.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made the announcement on Monday during her post-Cabinet media conference.

“Delta is here and it’s not going away,” Ardern said, adding that New Zealand was “better positioned than most to tackle it because of our vaccination rates and protections” within the traffic light system.

The 'verifier app' will be launched tomorrow so businesses can check customers' vaccination pass.

Auckland's border will still remain closed until December 15. From then, Aucklanders can leave the city if they are fully vaccinated (have had both Covid vaccinations) or if they provide a negative Covid test taken 72 hours prior.

November 29 was set to be the date Cabinet would sign off on the decision to move. The Government is set to announce the levels the rest of the country will move that day. Ardern said no place would move to green straight away.

NZ’s new Covid traffic light system - what it means for you

The rules will be different for people who are fully vaccinated, compared to people who have not had both their Covid-19 vaccinations.

Restrictions would be placed on businesses that open to unvaccinated customers as it poses a higher risk in a Covid environment.

Regions will go into Red, Orange or Green levels, dependent on the Covid risk, the pressure placed on hospitals and the health care system and the area’s vaccination rate.

ACT’s David Seymour called the date announcement “a massive victory for New Zealanders, but with many complications from the Government”.

“The greatest complication is the lack of preparedness for vaccine passports,” he said.

“That’s why it’s hairdressers but not hospo this Thursday, they need to test the vaccine pass. We have been waiting for a Government that is not prepared, rather than Aucklanders to get vaccinated.”

Director General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said there had been tests undertaken prior to Thursday’s rollout of vaccine pass use for hairdressers. About 1.1 million people have downloaded the vaccine pass.