Traffic light system announcement: What you need to know

Source: 1News

New Zealanders now know which traffic light setting each area of the country will fall under, when they will be up for review, and who can travel where, as the summer break looms.

Jacinda Ardern on Monday provided more clarity in a post-Cabinet media conference, ahead of NZ’s move to the traffic light system from 11:59pm Thursday.

The Prime Minister confirmed that no region would begin in Green and that she expected it would remain that way for some time.

"Keep in mind the Auckland boundary only lifts in the middle of December, so we do expect the country will either be in Orange or Red settings through that period," she said.

Here's what else you need to know:

Traffic light settings

Northland, Auckland, Taupō and Rotorua Lakes Districts, Kawerau, Whakatāne, Ōpōtiki Districts, Gisborne District, Wairoa District, Rangitīkei, Whanganui and Ruapehu Districts will move in at Red.

The rest of the North Island and the whole of the South Island will move in at the Orange setting. No region will start in Green.

Under the traffic light system, rules will be different for people who are fully vaccinated, compared to people who have not had both their Covid-19 vaccinations.

"Red is the highest level in the new system, which is why Auckland has moved in at Red as the epicentre of the current outbreak, and we’ve taken strong account of vaccination rates and vulnerable populations in the other regions at Red," she said.

Borders and regional travel restrictions

Between December 15 and January 17, 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 to departure. People are also able to travel between regions that are at different settings.

Ardern confirmed that, other than the existing Auckland boundary, which lifts on January 17, there will be no new restrictions on travel between regions.

Traffic light setting review

Cabinet will review settings and provide an update on Monday December 13. The next update following that will be on Monday January 17, and will continue on a fortnightly basis.

Any changes to a region’s traffic light setting would be dictated by vaccination, the state of the health system, testing, contact tracing and case management capacity, as well as the rate and effect of Covid-19 transmission, Ardern said.