COVID-19 Update: Akl boundary easing before Xmas, Move to the new Protection Framework, & Vaccination rates

18 Nov 2021

We have received the below information from the Ministry of Health

Auckland boundary restrictions to ease before Christmas

From 11.59pm on December 14, people will be able travel out of Auckland. To do so, they must either be fully vaccinated, or have a negative test at least 72 hours prior to departure.

People will be able to enter or leave Auckland for any reason.

This requirement to be tested or vaccinated before departing Auckland will be in place for the core summer period of December 15, 2021 until January 17, 2022. The Government have added this safety net to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 over the busy holiday period.

Police will perform spot checks around the southern Auckland boundary to ensure the rules are being followed. Those leaving Auckland must be able to show their vaccine pass or evidence of a negative test, within 72 hours prior to departure. Those breaking the rules will face an infringement fine of $1000.

On the northern boundary - the gateway to Northland - police will work with iwi to ensure people can move, but also that the people of Northland have confidence in the checks that are in place.

Checks for travellers departing from Auckland Airport on Air New Zealand flights will be done at airline check-in. Travellers on the Inter-Islander ferry departing Wellington for Picton may also be required to present their vaccine pass prior to travel.

The combination of checks at Auckland airport and at the Wellington inter-island ferry terminals, means that all entry points to the South Island are well-covered to stop potential spread to the region.

Moving to the COVID-19 Protection Framework (traffic light system)

On November 29, Cabinet will meet to confirm the decision to move Auckland, and the rest of New Zealand, to the traffic light system. The date at which we move to the traffic light system is likely to occur soon after Cabinet meets.

Auckland and those parts of the country with lower vaccination rates will move into the new system at Red. The rest of the country will move to Orange.

Cabinet is making a number of decisions in the coming weeks to prepare for the shift to the traffic light framework. For example, Minister Little, Sepuloni and Verrall will set out how testing, contact tracing, care in the community and social support will be provided for those who get COVID. The government will also release detailed individual sector guidance for the new traffic light system. This has been worked through in detail over the course of many weeks, in consultation with different sectors.

Elimination and the alert levels were never intended as a forever strategy. High vaccination rates - now 81 percent double-dosed, up from just 23 percent three months ago - afford us the ability to change our approach and move into the next chapter of our COVID-19 response.

The traffic light system is safer than the alert levels. For example, at Alert Level 2 everyone can go into a hospitality setting, seated and separated. At Red, in the new framework, you'll also have to be vaccinated which adds an extra layer of protection. In some settings, everyone over 12 years and three months may be required by businesses to show their vaccine pass.

Vaccination progress

  • Seven DHBS have now hit the 90% first dose mark – Auckland, Waitemata, Counties Manukau, Capital and Coast, Canterbury, Southern and now Hutt Valley.
  • All three of Auckland's DHBs have reached 90% of first vaccine doses.
  • 82% of eligible people in New Zealand are fully vaccinated.
  • 78% percent of total eligible Māori population haver received at least 1 dose
  • 89% of the total eligible Pacific population have received at least 1 dose
  • Vaccination progress by DHB as of Tuesday 16 November:
  • Northland                         72% fully vaccinated
  • Waitematā                       86% fully vaccinated
  • Auckland                           90% fully vaccinated
  • Counties Manukau         83% fully vaccinated
  • Waikato                            80% fully vaccinated
  • Lakes                                 74% fully vaccinated
  • Bay of Plenty                    76% fully vaccinated
  • Tairāwhiti                         71% fully vaccinated
  • Taranaki                            76% fully vaccinated
  • Hawkes Bay                      78% fully vaccinated
  • MidCentral                       80% fully vaccinated
  • Whanganui                       75% fully vaccinated
  • Capital and Coast            87% fully vaccinated
  • Hutt Valley                       82% fully vaccinated
  • Wairarapa                        79% fully vaccinated
  • Nelson Marlborough      80% fully vaccinated
  • West Coast                       74% fully vaccinated
  • Canterbury                       83% fully vaccinated
  • South Canterbury            80% fully vaccinated
  • Southern                           83% fully vaccinated

Further breakdowns are available on the Ministry of Health website.