Dawn Chorus: 'Soft' Auckland border tipped from mid-Dec

Govt set to announce Auckland moving to 'red' traffic light soon after Nov 29, followed by reopening of 'soft' border with spot checks

TLDR & TLDL: The govt looks set to announce tomorrow that Auckland will move into the ‘red’ version of the new ‘traffic light’ Covid controls soon after Nov 29, with the replacement of boundary limits with a ‘soft’ system of spot checks likely by mid-Dec.

It looks increasingly likely Aucklanders wanting to leave the city will have to negotiate a ‘soft’ border with spot checks, rather than hard stops and checks for everyone. Photo: Lynn Grieveson/TheKaka

The rest of Aotearoa-NZ would move to ‘red’ or ‘amber’ then as well, even though many ‘fringe’ DHBs such as Tairāwhiti, Northland, Whanganui and Taranaki will be nowhere near the 90% double-dosed threshold. (See a lot more on that below the paywall fold)

However, the NZ Herald’s John Weekes reports this morning harder borders could be adopted for areas such as Northland, with all cars and trucks stopped to check that drivers and passengers are double vaccinated, and/or have negative test results. PM Jacinda Ardern said yesterday Cabinet was looking at moving the rest of NZ into the ‘traffic light’ system earlier than the 90% threshold due to unspecified health advice that the new system was “safer”.

News elsewhere overnight and breaking this morning:

  • a TVNZ-Colmar Brunton poll found Labour down 2 points to 41% and National up 2 points to 28%. However, Judith Collins’ net approval rating fell to -31% from -19% and she now sits at 5% for preferred PM, just ahead of Chris Luxon on 4%;

  • Associate Health Minister Ayesha Verrall said in an RNZ interview this morning vaccinated Covid cases isolating at home now only need to isolate for 10 days, down from 14 days, while unvaccinated cases must still isolate for 14 days;

  • NZ joined the EU Digital Covid Certificate programme (EU);

  • Nato warned Russia over its military buildup in Ukraine (AP);

  • Austria announced it was locking down all unvaccinated people (AP);

  • Germany moved to limit the movements of unvaccinated people without current negative tests (Politico);

  • China’s house prices fell in Oct for the second month in a row and by the most in six years (SCMP); and,

  • Shell announced it would abandon its dual-company status by leaving the Netherlands and headquartering in London (Guardian).

Coming up later today:

  • Labour and National caucuses hold their weekly meetings in Parliament this morning, with a special focus on National after last night’s poll result and rumours growing a leadership challenge possible in the next month;

  • The Reserve Bank is scheduled to release its quarterly UMR survey of household CPI and house price inflation expectations at 3pm today, with the more-closely-watch business expectations of inflation survey due on Thursday; and,

  • I welcome paid subscribers’ suggestions in the comments below on what’s interesting and what questions to ask.

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