Auckland to move to Level 2.5 on August 31; Rest of NZ to remain at Level 2; Mask wearing to be mandatory on public transport at Level 2 from August 31

Auckland to move to Level 2.5 on August 31; Rest of NZ to remain at Level 2; Mask wearing to be mandatory on public transport at Level 2 from August 31
Jacinda Ardern. Getty Images.

Level 3 lockdown is being extended in Auckland by four days to 11:59pm Sunday, August 30.

The rest of the country will remain at Level 2.

When Auckland moves to Level 2, gatherings will be restricted to 10 people, except for at funerals where the cap will be 50. This means multiple groups of no more than 10 can go to restaurants, like the last time the country was effectively at "Level 2.5". 

Gatherings will remain restricted to 100 people throughout the rest of the country. 

The Government will review settings again before Sunday, September 6.

It will be mandatory for everyone in New Zealand to wear masks or face coverings on public transport, including in taxis and Ubers, at Levels 2 and above from next Monday, August 31. 

The Government won't provide targeted support for hospitality businesses. Nor will it extend the latest two-week wage subsidy to cover the extra four days Auckland will be at Level 3. Finance Minister Grant Robertson previously said the subsidy would be extended, if Level 3 was extended. 

People will be able to travel in and out of Auckland at Level 2, however the Government is asking people to avoid travel if they can and to take precautions.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, "Our ongoing goal has to be to maintain our elimination strategy while trying to reduce the impact on as many people and businesses as possible. But there is no denying that the price Aucklanders are currently paying is the greatest."

Cabinet made the decision regarding lockdown based on the Director-General of Health’s advice.

There are 104 active cases of Covid-19 in the community. Two cases found over the weekend are yet to be linked to a cluster.  

Ardern said that because the Auckland cluster is the country's biggest yet, it will have a long tail and cases will keep coming for a while. She noted it took 12 weeks to close the largest cluster in the first wave. 

The Employers and Manufacturers' Association (EMA) released this statement in response:

The EMA welcomes the Government’s announcement of Auckland returning to Alert Level 2 at midnight this Sunday, August 30, but says border control issues will still be a major hurdle for businesses in the next six days.

Chief Executive Brett O’Riley says the rate of processing exemptions is unacceptable and with many being told it may take up to seven days, Alert Level 3 will be over by the time they get them.

"The shambles at the border began when documentation that was acceptable during the previous Alert Level 3 and Alert Level 4 was no longer acceptable, meaning people couldn’t get to work and goods couldn’t get through. That was followed by communication breakdowns that saw some getting through and some not."

He says that while many businesses will welcome the news of the move to Alert Level 2 at midnight on Sunday unfortunately for those in hospitality or retail social distancing rules inhibit trading.

The EMA and the BusinessNZ network have been working with the Government to solve the ongoing regional border issue, and Mr O’Riley says that if anything the return to Alert Level 3 has highlighted how crucial it is to be better prepared.

"The problems with the regional border will continue to have a major impact on businesses in the upper North Island, not just Auckland, until midnight Sunday and we must do better not only in the next six days, but in future," he says.

The EMA is keen to work with the Government on adapting the guidelines at each alert level, based on updated knowledge of COVID-19 and public health concerns, to make it clear for businesses what they are expected to do at each level if they wish to operate.

"We want to see businesses allowed to open as long as they meet those restrictions rather than a system of exemptions, and we want to see clear guidelines and timelines so that businesses can respond quickly to each change in alert level."

"But we also need Government agencies to respond in the same way to allow businesses to operate while keeping staff and customers safe."

Here is Ardern's statement, delivered at 3pm, in full: 

The Cabinet met today to determine the next steps in managing the re-emergence of COVID-19 in New Zealand.

Tomorrow marks 14 days since the re-emergence of COVID-19 beyond our quarantine facilities.

In those almost two weeks, enormous effort has gone into rolling out our resurgence plan. You can see that in the sheer scale of the response. I want to briefly recap, because in sharing those details, it gives a sense of why we are well equipped to deal with the cases that will continue from this current cluster for some time to come.

Since Wednesday 12 August we have tested more than 100,000 Aucklanders and 194,000 in total across the country.  

That is more than a quarter of all the testing New Zealand has done for COVID since the beginning of the year, in just the past 13 days.

On contact tracing, where we find all the people someone with COVID 19 might have come into contact with, we have reached the gold standard of reaching 80% of contacts within 48 hours since the 12th of August. That’s a sign we are getting ahead of the virus, and are finding people and making sure they are in isolation before they are even symptomatic. In fact that is exactly what has happened in the majority of our positive cases.

And on contact tracing generally, I do want to make mention of the remarkable efforts of our Auckland Public Health Unit.

At the end of last week I spoke with Sir Brian Roche about what he had seen first-hand while visiting our Auckland Public Health Unit. He was there to see if they had all they needed to do their incredibly important job. 

He said that he found watching them a humbling experience. I have seen that from afar. I have seen them go back to patients with COVID once, twice, three times if that is what it takes to help find close contacts. They have used CCTV footage, HOP cards, swipe cards, dockets and whatever else it takes to help them establish people’s movements, and help keep other people safe.

They are the ones that have to tell people they have COVID-19, and then work through all of the anxiety that creates in people, to build a picture of every move they have made over a 14-day period.

Not only do they do incredible work, they do a job that has been supported by our Level Three restrictions.

We have seen in recent days, cases emerge that happened before Level Three came into force. They have shown us how tricky this virus is. They have happened on a bus journey between absolute strangers, we have seen a case we believe occurred through a retail shopping experience, many, many cases through churches. If it weren’t for Level Three, this cluster would be exponential, of that I have no doubt.

This is a contained cluster. But it is our biggest one. And that means the tail will be long, and the cases will keep coming for a while to come. You might remember that it took us over 12 weeks to close our largest cluster in our first wave. 

But we can manage that. What we need to do though, is put ourselves in the best long-term position to manage it successfully, and in the most contained way we can.

Ultimately, our goal needs to be managing this cluster from Level Two as soon as we feel confident we can do that. That means feeling confident we have the perimeter of the cluster well understood and defined, and are not seeing too many cases cropping up that we haven’t found through contact tracing. Based on the advice of the Director General, we believe that confidence can be built over the course of this week.

That is why, the Director General has recommended to Cabinet, and Cabinet has agreed to apply a short extension of Level Three restrictions in Auckland until 11.59pm this Sunday 30 August.

You may recall we were due to lift restrictions on Wednesday. These extra 4 days are believed necessary to allow us to move down a level in Auckland, and stay down. We want both confidence, and certainty for everyone.

We also agree with the Director General’s view that, as we did before, that Auckland should step its way into Level Two. That means from midnight on Sunday: schools, hospitality, retail and those entities that are able to operate at Level Two all reopen, but we will keep a limit on mass gatherings – and that means groups of no more than 10, with the exception of tangihanga and funerals, which you will recall occurred with up to 50 people the last time we stepped into Level Two gradually.

The rest of the country will maintain the current Level Two settings.

We will put these settings in place for 1 week from Sunday and review them before Sunday the 6th of September. 

I do want to share the rational for keeping the rest of New Zealand at Level Two.

Many will argue, that given we haven’t seen cases elsewhere, the rest of New Zealand should see a lift in current restrictions. I absolutely understand that sentiment. It makes sense.

Except for one issue, and that is regional travel. There are many people and businesses who will want to enter and leave Auckland once it is at Level Two, from Sunday night. And many others who will want to see the benefit that comes from our biggest city moving around the country again. That includes for instance hospitality, or retailers. But with that movement, does come risk.

So there is a choice to be made. If we want the economic benefit of regional travel, the trade-off is keeping in place the social distancing and mass gathering limits that help keep everyone safe in the meantime. It’s a finely balanced decision, but the right one I believe when interregional borders just don’t work when the restrictions start reducing.  

And finally, I want to speak to some of the activity over the week ahead.

We continue to ask everyone who is on public transport, and planes, to wear a mask or face covering. Given the recent transmission we have seen on this form of transport, Cabinet has decided to move to mandating the wearing of face coverings on public transport for Level Two and above. These new orders will come into force from Monday. 

This isn’t a decision we took lightly. But we know that masks protect you, and the people around you, and we now have a real-life example of that. They limit the chance of COVID-19 spreading in places where it is often harder to distance yourself, and to trace people.

In the meantime, we again urge everyone in Auckland to wear face coverings in public generally as well.

And finally, I have been asked whether the Government, or New Zealand’s strategy, should change when it comes to taking on COVID-19. The answer is no. As I look around the world and at the experience of others, we are still of the view, now more than ever, that a stamp-it-out strategy is best for our people, for our economy, for the long-term wellbeing of New Zealand. That means every time we see cases, we act. We test, trace, isolate. And repeat, as many times as we need. And we work incredibly hard to limit the impact of Covid on everyone.

That does not mean heavy restrictions every time we see a case. In fact, our ongoing goal has to be to maintain our elimination strategy while trying to reduce the impact on as many people and businesses as possible.  

But there is no denying that the price Aucklanders are currently paying is the greatest.

I want to say, that even though many of us haven’t been in the city, or haven’t experienced the second round of Level Three – we know it’s been tough. I know there are many who have found it harder this time. In part, I imagine the reminder that this is the world’s reality, and that COVID is ever present is part of that. It is a hard reality to accept.

We may not have any choice over whether or not the world is in a global pandemic, but we do have choices around how we deal with it. We have made a choice, and we have a clear plan that means we can get through however long this pandemic is in the world, and keep as much normality, including for our economy, as possible.

We have done that for 6 months already, and we can keep doing it.

The next seven days, in fact the next several weeks, will see more cases. But it will see thousands of tests, hundreds of workers contact tracing, a team out in full force to stamp out Covid in New Zealand.

And I hope it will also see everyone playing their part.

Staying home if they’re sick and getting a test.

Downloading the NZ Covid tracer app.

Keeping a log of everywhere they go, and everyone they’re with.

Washing their hands 

Being kind.

In our fight against this virus, we have held some records. Now the one we have to beat, is around resurgence. And if any one country knows how to bounce back, it is us.

This has been a hard year. It’s been a hard year for Christchurch who has fresh reminders of that this week. It’s been a hard year for Auckland, it’s been a hard year for drought stricken and flood ridden parts of the country. So if it feels hard, that’s because it has been. But let’s also remember, in a world where 2020 has frankly been terrible, we are strong, we have been kind, and we are doing really well.

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Shes has well and truly decided that she will not be changing her philosophy of elimination. Good luck NZ and the economy...what this tells me is that we will go in and out of level 3 for the foreseeable future!

The rest of NZ stays at level 2. That does not indicate full blown confidence that the perimeter of the cluster is anywhere near secured if it is thought breaking out beyond “local” is a possibility

It all now depends on how good the contact tracing is.


Don't get your hopes up. "As with personal protective equipment (PPE) and distribution of the flu vaccine, there was a disconnect between what the Government was telling us about the enhanced testing strategy and what was actually happening on the ground."

Every so many words required to avoid using the word 'lie'

What is it exactly you believe the govt is lying about, Foyle?

BB, Check out Vance's stuff item (2 above) work through those to start.
Think further about the lies of omission.

based on what I have seen in L2 it's fairly hit and miss. Issue they have is the lock downs are losing there effectiveness, people are ignoring it and just getting on with it. Feel sorry for the hospitality trade in AKL, 3 weekends with no trade.

If you are still running a hospitality business by now you should get yourself head-checked. I mean come on the chance to exit was months ago.

With the government extending temporary visas until March 2021 and low-value businesses going under, starting a logistics business delivering essential supplies from food-banks and Salvation Army to poorer neighbourhoods sounds like a good alternative.


Actually there were two main reasons for this:
1. Setting up a perimeter around Auckland staying in level 2 and the rest of country in level 1 would be awkward, remembering that level 2 allows inter-region travel.

2. It would be silly to have level 2 in Auckland with mass-gathering limits of 10, but allowing Aucklanders to move into the rest of the country at level 1 to attend mass gatherings without limits.

It's not about confidence in the perimeter being determined, it's in operational matters for how you'd have mixed level 1 and level 2 settings.

^ this guy is in the know, Clarke Gayfords account mate get off the internet Neve needs a bottle

it is not Neve ..

... who's hitting the bottle

Lucky Auckland is on an isthmus or shutting routes out would be tricky

tks Lth, took a while, but finally the old brain box got a fix on it.

I don't think you can have Auckland in Level 3 and the rest of the country in level 1 - has to happen in tandem-

how many jumped on planes to the south island, hooked up caravans or headed for the batch , i personally know aucklanders that made a run for it before the roads closed,
BUT i feel for the south island having to stay in level two because of visiting jaffas , its a case of business needs them but the normal people would rather have level one

If we can keep the ratio at around 100 days at level 1, and 17 days at level 2/3, then it seems like a reasonable strategy to me.

For how long is that viable?

You're talking about 10-15% of the time, being under lockdown levels that involve a 10%+ shrinking of economic activity (worse by sector). You'd better hope that we get a reliable vaccine soon.

Is this how Ramadan started? The whole society just stops operating for a month per year for health wand wellbeing.


What will the New Zealand economy look like if this virus takes hold?
Will you be out and about shopping; hoping that the mask you have on will protect you?
Will, you want shoppers coming to your shop/counter that might infect you when they hand over their Visa card?
There is no 'right' answer to this, just a wrong one; that being that we don't stamp out the problem when we can, because there won't be an economy if it starts killing customers and/or shopkeepers.

Yes, every option is flawed.
Let's hope that the government has markedly improved it's processes so we can nip these things in the bud quicker in the future.

This account of the experience of someone exposed to this outbreak will do nothing to assuage your concerns:
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again (trusting this govt to get things done), but expecting different results

"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again (trusting this govt to get things done), but expecting different results" Are you sure it's not reading a post on Kiwiblog, and expecting a balanced and nonpartisan assessment of anything?

nothing left in the ammo case but ad homs eh oldbloke1?

Come on Foyle - kiwiblog is an extremely partisan blog as you well know. Even Act is a moderate influence in those forums


8% of the latest round of cases have ended up in the hospital - and that's with no retirement homes involved. At that rate, even a moderate spread would swamp our terrible hospital capacity (especially our ICU capacity, which is some of the lowest in the OECD).

As much as I would like to follow the Swedish approach, we don't have the same hospital network (or tax base to expand it) as they do. And even then, a huge number of Swedes are still working from home and will be at least until Xmas, whereas here in NZ both employers and employees seem keen to get back into the office.

Good point.
We can thank the neo-liberal philosophy of several successive governments for running down our public health service.

What is this "tax base" you refer to? We've moved past questions like that mate, all it takes is a phone call to Adrian and funding issues evaporate.

We haven't listened to the Money Monetary Theorists, yet.

I wish you hadn't done that. We were having such a nice thread and you've gone and Beetlejuice'd it up. We'll be overrun by the MMT zealots in short order.

We have more hospital beds than Sweden (after nine years of neglect TM).

And how close are they to their population centres, are they spread out like NZ ones? How many ICU beds? What about the rest of their health system, how well is it funded?

Looking at only a single metric is not particularly informative.

I'll let junglejuice know not to use the hospital bed metric. The US has 4x the number of ICU's how is that panning out? On the whole we have the same life expectancy as Sweden and similar ICU's. After the nine years of neglect mantra I guess that is a bitter pill.

Lan, Tell what you estimate.

Do you agree with Dr Jin?

Here is an Auckland Dr who thinks there are very few, and medic staff morale is so so and resilence low. - read the thread.

Who is right, the understanding the PM is giving us, or people on the ground?.

Interesting that NZ life expectancy is highest equal in the world (83 for pakeha), (85 for asian NZers) given all those terrible 9 years of neglect that must surely be killing hoards of oldies? Suggests rhetoric doesn't match reality.

Life expectancy is usually misunderstood. It tells you how old a child born today is likely to live for.

It doesn't tell you about how long someone who is presently elderly is likely to live for.

You'll also trying to measure something that is immeasurable and can only be estimated. Perhaps if we didn't have 9 years of neglect, fewer elderly people would have died this year than actually did die - in other words because we had 9 years of neglect the stats stayed flat, but without those 9 years of neglect the stats may have improved. We can't know.

Your argument is weak, we are near top in life expectancies, with rise tracking exactly the same as other western countries through last 20 years so our health system was obviously good and getting better all that time, not surprising given 10% real per capita increase in health funding during National's years. The Neglect line was only ever empty rhetoric.

The PM said there jolly well absolutely was sewage running down the walls of Middlemore. Big time neglect in my view.

And wouldn't you know: it was overblown and over-hyped:

"There was no sewage spilling into the building, just some staining on the ground within the soil stack duct. To clean it up, engineering had to mix water on it, so the quantity was less than a bucket," the DHB said in a statement."

Well thats disappointing, did the health minister:
(a) not get a report on it
(b) got a report but didn't read it
(c) made stuff up when briefing the PM
(d) did the PM just hear it somewhere and thought it sounded true

Pretty sure that's a function of the compositional/demographic effects of where the outbreak started here. Age and obesity are the highest risk factors for severity of Covid-19 complications. The latter is prevalent in the Pasifika communities where this outbreak started.

What is it with this persistent 'go hard' attitude in our country? Makes us look like the autistic edge of the world really. We can't let go and we can't admit it either.

Low Selenium in the soils = cat on hot tin roof mentality

I sort of viewed this announcement as a very subtle shift away from elimination. Just a vibe I picked up from the speech.

donny. There have been recent media articles providing some really really very helpful advice for us wee little ones about what to do if someone close to us becomes a victim of a C19 conspiracy theory. Sounds like you might just, you know, sort of, have gone down a little ole rabbit hole there. Say after me 5 times - 'went hard, went early, gold standard testing, team of 5 million, 30 thousand deaths if we don't eliminate' and you'll see it was just your imagination. Nice glass of pinot will also help to dull the suspicion.

Give it 6 weeks.

Did you watch it? Or the part where Jacinda said that we are absolutely sticking with an elimination approach?

She also said that front line workers were absolutely refusing tests and that MoH had absolutely not briefed cabinet on the issue of front line testing. Which unabsolutely means one statement is absolutely untrue.

Her favourite word. Absolutely favourite.

They also have done a full circle on masks hard to take this government seriously when they keep back tracking and changing tact.
It was a no brainer that masks helped reduce risks but no the government said no back in April and now they decide yes people will soon start revolting if this continues.

Soon we will all be in masks 24/7 along with negative interest rates and mortgage holidays for ever and just in case we fall over a zorb to minimize risks from falling over.
Welcome to the nanny state.

Maybe we should go extreme right like, um, Sweden?

If you had been following the response since the start, you would have seen that mask use was considered, but not made mandatory because there were few studies supporting their use. Studies have now supported their use, so they have been introduced. Next you'll be complaining they haven't supported the use of hydroxychloroquine...

You are slowly being cooked oldbloke1 and you are not even noticing it. Game over for you.

I recall in the early week(s)/month(s) WHO telling us all that the virus was not spread through airborne pathways - it was a droplet/surface thing. Wonder if Helen will cover that c)@k up in her report?

Looks like we will also have different sizes 1.5, 2.5, 3.5 etc soon.
But it is only going to increase the confusion and make people more frustrated and angry.
May be we should tack a referendum on Covid to the Election ?

"May be we should tack a referendum on Covid to the Election ?" Yup - the virus will take note of public opinion, and slink away...

Mask has been mandated since the first day in China.

Wearing a mask to prevent a respiratory transmitted disease is not rocket science.

The attitude of things must be wrong if China does it needs to be eliminated.

xi jingping thought is also mandated in china. the rest makes even less sense than usual.


If Taiwan does it, it's OK(regarding COVID)

Xing but mask interfered with the facial recognition.. You can't have it both ways.

Which "first day"? The day the virus was identified? The day things got out of control? The day the world found out?

It has a little to do with China regarding the custom. Western culture is a crucial factor in that regard. People need to understand it.

Inventory is a different story, though. NZ was out of face masks pretty fast since the outbreak in China. Some people were stockpiling facemasks and send them back to China; they were well known in the local Chinese community. And I understand the rationale. The same happened in many other countries too. So a fact is everyone was quite short on face masks during the early days. However, the real kick in the butt is the politicisation of face masks after COVID became the pandemic and China managed to restart the manufacturing. China was threatening to cut off the supply of face masks, while some other countries were questioning the quality etc. It was ugly and messy.

So stop dragging China into the COVID discussions, it is getting old quickly. There are other countries NZ can benchmark and learn. And those countries are close to NZ's conditions in term of the social-economical and political context.

If China takes responsibility for their actions then we can stop dragging china onto it. Until then it's the wu flu

Bloomfield didn't even recommend compulsory masks at L2, it was Cabinet that decided.

He said their advice they gave is that they should be mandatory at level 3, but their advice for level 2 is that it was a line call, and the decision could be to make them mandatory or the decision could be to "strongly encourage" their use. Cabinet decided to make them mandatory at level 2 and above.

There's nothing wrong with this style of advice. MoH is supposed to take into account health matters, but that doesn't mean they can't also consider other aspects outside of health (such as potential cost or difficulty to implement something) and include that in their advice.

I agree with the public transport. It is a no brainer that someone should wear one. You should be doing it even if not required.

However expanding that mandate to include just being out in public is a tough one. As you say the MoH can direct, but ultimately it comes down to availability, price, and size of masks.

Personally, I don't think it is something the government could every realistically impose unless they sent out a box of masks to every single person.

Cindy just told us to make our own masks you have to buy them , nanny state

Yeah, homemade works, specially for us cowpokes.

"Yee-haw, ol' Cinders, she a reckons anythang is better than nothin', I'm juss gonna rustle up my posse, gotta go down to the ol' bank tamorra to fill in thisahere papers for a new mortgage. Gotta protects meself from that pesky covid varmant. Only gots my ten gallon hat and bandana tho. Might juss make a withdrawal while we at it, never know how longs those banks gonna last."

Yes Hom made works as do regular masks, but they need to be used correctly.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said there were promising signs that the Government was getting on top of the virus....


This time. for realz.

Well, at least until they are caught short again.

There goes the housing market.. oh wait!

NZ housing market is like US tech stocks... the worse the news, the higher it goes!
And I'm not even being facetious here. I think the underlying dynamic is the same - they're somewhat risky investments that start to look safe and profitable when enough other people have piled in to guarantee liquidity (for now...)

Except... the entry level for buying stocks is very low compared to buying houses. A million people in NZ could afford to buy stocks right now. How many could afford to buy a house?

Before long the average price across Wellington will be 750k+.. prices are going up like crazy now. Not sure what it would take now to affect the market..

Half way into our move back to Auckland..yer nah re-thinking that one. My mates are missing the local pub..brings tears to ones eyes the sacrifices the Aucklanders are making for the rest of the country.

It is Auckland that has the virus not the rest of the country.
The rest of the country has been placed into level 2 because of Aucklands infection. So ....
So looks to me as if the rest of the country is making a sacrifice for Auckland.
But more positively aren't we all in this together?

Shall we temporarily move the main international airport to where ever you live?


I don't know who writes these for the PM but that was ten minute rambling preamble to an announcement that could have been summarised in thirty-ish seconds. Succinctness and brevity are key to retaining audience attention.


Are you kidding? Jacinda's time lecturing without opposition or rebuttal to a captive nation to build up her brand are Labour's whole election campaign! The content is mostly irrelevant - people won't remember it anyway, it's all about accumulating face-minutes on screen to build up recognition, with a small side benefit of creating sound bites and talking points for her buddies in the MSM to regurgitate for anyone who still bothers to watch TV or listen to news. This approach took labour from 38% in Feb to 60% in June.

it can also work in reverse. A bit like a mother telling her teenager off over an over about the same thing. Eventually the teenager switches off and walks away.

In the end FCM we will all love big sister.

I like the part:
"I'm happy to take questions.... Tova"

Man, Junior Staffer is really riled up today. Out there with the talking points.

Thumbs up - give me bullet points. its all I want.

Say what you want about Muldoon but at least his snap election announcement got to the point.

Since there's no mention of enforcement, I assume you will simply be turned away if you're not wearing a mask already when you try to enter public transport.
Maybe it will balance out the fact that in Wellington, at least, the social distancing on busses and trains is a joke i.e. not even happening in a lot of cases.

Bet you they're hoping we get into L2 really quickly so they don't have to worry about mask enforcement, which i believe is currently practically impossible.

As it stands, train officers can't even eject people for assault or antisocial behaviour, all they can do is call the cops or a Maori warden to arrive at the next station. Similarly, the only additional power a bus driver has is to refuse to drive and then rely on peer pressure.

in auckland social distancing happens on our busses and trains as a matter of course, i have lost count of how many busses i have caught with only two or three people on them, even the bus trips they were tracking only had 17 people on it
The St Lukes worker also took buses on three days after Level 3 Alert on August 14, 15 and 17, travelling the same bus 22 route between Symonds St and St Lukes.
Seventeen passengers identified by their HOP cards as being on these buses at the same time as a case are considered close contacts. They are being asked to self-isolate and get tested if Public Health can contact them through their HOP details.

This is getting close to nuts. I can go to my local cafe and buy a coffee tapping the card machine which isht disinfected. I can buy a burger prepared by someone not wearing a mask. I can drive my car anywhere in Auckland and buy gas without having the pump handle sterilised. I can poodle around the supermarket. I can go surfing in Piha or hiking.

But I cant go to the Warehouse or Mitre 10, I can't drive away for the weekend or have a meal in a restaurant.

I get it, we don't want Covid running rampant but really is our current environment economically or socially workable ? There has to be other options which aren't so restrictive.

Like Victoria tried before resorting to lockdown. Despite there still being possible ways to transmit the virus, lockdowns do work pretty damn well while those “other options” don’t. The only other option is to be in something like level 2 forever, still have most of the economic pain, and have thousands of deaths and an overloaded health system.


I dont think so. It's a matter of sensible planning. I'm 50. If you believe the stats I have about a 0.1% chance of dying from Covid. If you read a little more and agree that 80% of people are unaware they have had it or asymptomatic then I have a 0.02% chance of dying from Covid. That's1 in 5,000. I'm ok with that.

I will die one day anyway. It might be cancer, a stroke, heart failure, liver disease, a road accident or I may just be unlucky enough to be one of those folks who slips and bangs their head or drowns in the bath. One way or another the reaper will claim me.

And I'm guessing a lot of people, especially those older than me feel like the want to get on with their lives ~ while taking sensible precautions. Like wearing a mask ALL the time I'm outside.

That I can get takeaway, ride a train or a bus, visit all manner of places but the frigging ferry to Rangi or TTmirangi is out of service care of some dumb ass beaurocrat isnt sensible, its ridiculous.

This is a very bad a flu. But, when we have increased our national debt three fold and passed that to our kids because we cant find a workable solution that doesn't involve shutting down people's lives then I think I'm entitled to say the current approach isnt working.

We are going to have tens of thousands of people who lose their jobs, hundreds of thousands who are taking pay cuts, tens of thousands who cant visit relatives. Please dont tell me this plan is working. It's a cluster fk.

Agree - but have the countries that haven’t worried about the virus done better than us economically? The US? The UK? Sweden?

or you could catch a bus after someone infected gets off, that case alone shows how infectious this disease is all those things you described can lead to you catching it if you dont take steps to mitigate it yourself rather than rely on others to do the right things, ie use hand sanister after filling your car, wear a mask in the supermarket and keep distance .
i get your point about what is the difference between mitre 10 and the supermarket , one is worth the risk because you need to eat

And meanwhile public support for lockdowns is slowly slip sliding away. This current AKL one is Ardern's last throw of the dice as the tide of public opinion turns. Doubts are even beginning to arise here and there among her adoring media praise and worship groupies. In a packed out of AKL pub on Friday night where C19 precautions were pointedly ignored and all the talk was 'we can't keep doing this'.

When will they realize you can not eliminate a virus and the only way to stop it is to fully close the borders otherwise I can bet money there will be another community infection.

Correct. Their posters are factually incorrect too. "Washing hands kills the virus". Incorrect, you can't kill a virus, you can't kill CV as it's a protein.

Last throw of the dice is right.


Proteins are easily destroyed by plenty of common detergents, soaps, alcohols. The word 'kills' is simply used because most people don't know what 'denatured' means. And for the record, it is not 'a protein', it is far more complex than that. Viruses contain plenty of proteins in their structure, but then so do mammals.

LaST tHRoW Of ThE dICe

You are wrong. Soap and alcohol can actively destroy the fatty lipid layer on the outside of the virus.

Pretty uniform negative on here today on government. More political than informed

Yes, a sad commentary on the state of the nation when people are so negative on a governments performance. 80% approval ratings such as they have in Belarus ought to be mandatory.

Well - judging from the poll on the Spinoff, that isn't too far away - the group here is a biased sample - in more ways than one.

Ha HA the ultra work Spinoff.
Nearly as off-putting as rightist media outlets.

Lol the spinoff! And he had the cheek to call kiwiblog partisan! Too good

Or Turkmenistan which has 97 percent approval..

Have 65% approval rating already
Prepare to lose Mr National

'The Government won't provide targeted support for hospitality businesses. Nor will it extend the latest two-week wage subsidy to cover the extra four days Auckland will be at Level 3. Finance Minister Grant Robertson previously said the subsidy would be extended, if Level 3 was extended. '

Let's unpick this.
Firstly I think hospo should get supported. They are getting smashed the most.
Secondly, GR hasn't kept his promise. Are any journos taking hims to task on this?

Read this article on the conversation from an American academic who has an interesting way in which we may beat the virus.

Quick face mask question for anyone in the know.
What are the science based 'guidelines' for the home made jobbies.
Cheers & stay sane in these nutty times.

Your prime minister has instructed you! So that is all you need to know.

Cheers stay safe..

Great informative kneejerk comment PonziKiwi. Homemade facemasks are great.

Actually your description of Ponzi's comment better fits your own

Not really.

We are now officially the only country trying to "stamp it out". This is not possible to achieve without shutting our borders for 18 months as; there are millions of cases of C-19; the bug is clearly evolving and a vaccine is a long way off.

Her decision, if followed through, will therefore reduce our GDP per capita by 30% as it will eliminate inter alia, the tourism and overseas education sectors. I believe it is also catastrophically ignorant of scientific reality. The C-19 infection fatality rate is the same as the flu; it only kills 80 year olds (unlike the flu) and about 60% of the population has immunity. I fear for this country.

I don’t think any of that is fact. If 60% have immunity then I agree with you we should just accept it, but where has that theory come from?

More people will die from depression and mental illness as a result of these perverse govt power grabs. History won't treat them lightly.

Tired of hearing this. Do you have any evidence? The suicide rate this year has been lower than usual.

Fed up to here with this sort of thing. We have one option, that is elimination, then taking steps to see it doesn't come back, understanding there will always be the odd way it can slip through even with the best protections in place, which is where contact tracing becomes vital. If we follow guidelines etc, we can probably get thru another without locking down severely.
The case of the worker and the lift button would not necessarily have been found with fortnightly (proposed by Nats) of workers at the border, as that could easily have happened five minutes after having a swab taken. This will not be a cure all.
Letting the virus run rampant is NOT an option, everywhere around the world where it is, people are imploring us NOT to go down their track. We really need to listen to them

You are 100% wrong

Some random on QAnon, no doubt

If you do not want to listen to the govt or disrespect what they are doing, then I suggest you heed people from overseas where the virus has gotten away on them. They cannot stress enough how we should NOT go down their path, I wholeheartedly agree with them.
The rest of the world's economy is going down the drain because of this, we are in a better state to work for a recovery WITHOUT the virus than the poor buggers elsewhere trying to deal with both.

They're basically meant to have 3 layers of fabric.

I believe the fabric ones give you basically zero protection, but they offer some protection to others if you have Covid. If you want to protect yourself you need a surgical mask, or even better an N95.

3 layers and fitted around the nose. They will be far more comfortable to wear than the disposables.

This is getting confusing.

If I want to rob a bank, do I wear a mask or not?


Its not mandatory, but you will need to sign in or use the covid app.
Anyway the banks do the robbing nowadays...

But if everyone is wearing a mask, how will they know I'm a robber. They only way to stand out would be not to wear one.

Or I could be like the Gentleman bank robber, who when caught was asked, 'why he was so polite and yet carried a gun?'

He replied that he found he could get further in life with a kind word and a gun, rather than just a kind word alone.

Hand over a princess cruise carry bag for the loot. They'll throw the cash at you double quick and hustle you out the door.

Good to have some levity in amongst the madness. I suggested to someone yesterday that they get 10 of their mates and all decide to go to the bank at the same time. Different banks, different suburbs, some district. I said all buy a ski mask and use that. Not that I would really wish that upon my ex colleagues, but you can have fun thinking about it.

Anyone else getting a little tired of the very slow and deliberate way Jacinda has to explain everything to us... like we are a bunch of kindy kids.


Yip reminds me off Rob oakshot and the independents who took 2 weeks to decide they would make Julia Gillard PM. He ranted for an hour before revealing his choice.

Yes it's always been painful and condescending. But maybe it needs to be... look at her target voters.

Andyb. You're just suffering a wee bit of pre pubescent anxiety.

I saw the announcement had started then waited 6-7 mins before I tuned it. Sadly still had to listen to her for a couple mins before she got to the important bit.

That is your problem not hers. Really tiring of (mostly) men moaning and whining about Ardern getting the message out on what we need to do. Own your own issues.

It doesn't bother me in the slightest because I understand that she's not addressing me directly. That should be pretty obvious?

The message needs to be gotten clearly to all, not just those who can get it in ten words or less. Getting tired of this sort of nonsense, this is serious, and they way people (men mostly) are becoming increasingly disrespectful is THEIR problem not the PMs.

Mostly seems to be the older men I know who resent her the most.

I'm aware her communicating slowly and simply is perhaps not for some of us, but for as many as possible of us. Including those for whom English is not their first language, of which we have many in NZ.

Exactly. I'd be annoyed if she talked to me like that in person... but this is a broadcast to the nation on a very specific topic that affects everyone. It makes sense to speak slowly and simply.

You conflate 'simple' (as in plain for low comprehension cohort or ESOL) with wordy infantilising patronisation.

Some certainly seem to, and get very offended.

Over it ! Happy to play out this lockdown to get the best result.
We are only in this due to totally poor Border control.
The Government of the day must own this MESS !
I'mmmm done, if we have not nailed it this time, we have passed the point of elimination.
Move on...

The the entire government should forego their salaries for every day of lockdown so that they remain acutely in tune with the damage to life and industry that they are causing.

Ardern, and all her so-called "experts"need to be held accountable personally (as people)!
This is no longer believable for me and many others.

What isn't believeable?

Welcome to the first day of post-elimination. It might not feel like it, but in two weeks that's the position we'll be in.