Alert level shake-up on the way: Deputy PM

Minister of Finance Grant Robertson is giving today's update. Photo: Getty Images
Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson. Photo: Getty Images
The Government is reviewing its alert-level system - and broader freedoms - as more Kiwis get vaccinated and with a new vaccine passport on the way.

Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson said the Government was updating its work around the alert-level framework on the basis it had seen a terrific response to vaccination.

"We want to push on 90 percent plus, keep moving and open up a whole range of options for ourselves in the face of Delta," Robertson told The AM Show today.

In early November there should be a vaccine passport that could be downloaded on people's phones.

The app was being managed by the Ministry of Health, which was working with private providers to develop it.

Work was now under way of what an alert level framework would look like with a vaccine passport, and announcements including requirements for it would be likely in the next few weeks.

Robertson said today that public health officials were confident about the situation of the Covid outbreak in Auckland.

He acknowledged that a lot of the cases were household contacts.

"We're feeling positive about the direction of travel, but as we've said before, there's a long tail with Delta and that's what we're experiencing now," he told TVNZ's Breakfast.

Robertson said the Government would not be making vaccinations mandatory. "The idea that we would go to a compulsory vaccination goes, I think, well beyond where New Zealand has ever been in this regard."

New Zealand was doing well enough going without a mandatory vaccination rule.

Robertson said the mandatory vaccination rule would be very unpopular among Kiwis and would present human rights issues.

The way to get vaccination rates up would include ongoing initiatives already being seen in the community - including the new vaccination buses and Māori and Pasifika-led vaccination hubs - as well as ordinary people helping those in their own families who may still be hesitant about getting the jab.

"I think this is the bit where every single one of us has a responsibility," he said. "Sit down and have that conversation with the person in our lives who's maybe a little hesitant ... who is just a bit worried and a bit confused about some info.

"Each of us gets the chance to be a vaccine hero and go out and have that conversation. That's how we'll get there," Robertson said.

Speaking about vaccine passports, he said that "technology" was being worked on alongside members of the business sector.

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