Aotearoa's traffic light system and masks are here to stay but vaccine mandates for some sectors, scanning in and vaccine passes will soon be removed by the Government. 

Speaking to the media on Wednesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said when the pandemic first began, the tools Aotearoa had were blunt. 

"They were hard and always temporary," Ardern said. 

"While we have been successful, it has also been bloody hard ... there has never been easy options. Everyone has had to give up something and not everyone has agreed with the trade offs," she said. 

"Now with more tools and and with one of the most highly vaccinated populations in the world, we are able to keep moving forward safely."

"It's meant we're able to welcome back New Zealanders, family, friends and tourists, and take the next steps on our journey of reopening and recovery. And today it means we can set out our next steps." 

Changes to Red traffic light setting

Indoor gathering numbers have increased from 100 to 200 and outdoor gatherings no longer have limits. 

This means sports, concerts and gatherings outside without limit, will resume, Ardern said.  

"Simply put, Red means indoor gathering limits and masks, Orange means masks, and Green means guidance." 

These changes will take place from 11.59pm on Friday, March 25.


"What remains in use at this level, is of course masks," Ardern said.

"I know they are new for us, and most people really dislike them," she said.

"But they are so critical, and one of the ways we can show care and respect for one another, including our immunocompromised community."

Vaccine passes

On Monday, April 4 at 11.59pm, using My Vaccine Pass will no longer be necessary. 

"Some businesses and events may still wish to use them and can if they wish to do so - for now they will no longer be mandated," Ardern said. 

These may return if there was a new variant that "demands it", Ardern said, but "for post-peak this is no longer the case". 

QR codes

There are no future plans to contact trace more widely, Ardern said.

While contact tracing would be in place for residential facilities for vulnerable communities and residential aged care facilities, Ardern said people will no longer be required to scan everywhere they went from this weekend. 

Businesses would no longer be required to provide QR codes. 

Ardern said if a new variant arises, she told people and businesses to stand ready when it came to bringing back QR codes. 

"Don't remove the tracer app from your phone just yet." 

Vaccine mandates

"While vaccination remains critically important in protecting people against Covid-19, some mandates can be dropped," Ardern said. 

"The government will not require mandates to be in place for education, police and defence workforces and those businesses operating vaccine passes," Ardern said.

This would come into place on Monday, April 4 at 11.59pm. 

"Even though there is no longer a requirement for many, please get vaccinated and boosted." 

Top Image: Signs outside of a store before Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced changes to vaccine passes and scanning in. (File photo) Photo: Michael Madden-Smith/Re: News

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