Election campaigning put on hold as NZ returns to Covid-19 restrictions

Election campaigning has been put on hold as New Zealand returns to Covid-19 Alert Level restrictions.

From left, NZ First leader Winston Peters, Labour leader Jacinda Ardern, Green MP Chlöe Swarbrick and National leader Judith Collins. Source: 1 NEWS

Labour and New Zealand First both told 1 NEWS they would be suspending campaigning. National leader Judith Collins set a press release late tonight saying all campaign events for tomorrow will not go ahead.

The news comes as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern tonight announced there are four new cases of community transmission in New Zealand.

These are the first cases of community transmission in the country in 102 days.

All of the cases are in the same family.

The first case to present was a person in their 50s from South Auckland. They had no history of overseas travel, Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said.

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The four cases are the first community transmission here in 102 days. Source: 1 NEWS

The person was living with six other people, of which three also tested positive.

A resurgence plan is now being activated.

Auckland will go to Alert Level 3 from 12 noon tomorrow for three days until midnight Friday, with the rest of the country entering Alert Level 2 for the same period.

Ms Ardern said during a press conference tonight announcing the new cases that she spoke to Ms Collins before making the announcement.

"I advised her about the information of the case, the proposed course of action and what we would be undertaking in the next period of time," she said.

In a press release following Ms Ardern's press conference, Ms Collins said she was "disappointed". 

“This will come as a shock to all New Zealanders who believed what we had been told – that we had got on top of this virus," she said. "It is disappointing that it is once again in our community.

“A lot of work will need to be done over the coming days to figure out exactly what this latest case of community transmission will mean for the country, and I urge all New Zealanders to follow the hygiene protocols that saw us do such a great job of dealing with the first wave of Covid-19.

“New Zealanders can be assured that National will be seeking an explanation and clear answers about the situation we now find ourselves in.”