Auckland's Mayor Phil Goff says those in New Zealand's largest city should be prioritised in the nation's Covid-19 vaccine rollout this year.
"Auckland’s fourth level 3 lockdown highlights the fact that the city is at greater risk of community transmission than any other city or region in the country," he said in a statement today.
"As the gateway city to New Zealand, and with 18 quarantine facilities - significantly more than the rest of the country combined - Auckland carries the burden of risk on behalf of the country.
"Protecting Auckland will help ensure that we stop the disease from being transmitted to other parts of the country."
Vaccinations are already underway for priority groups, with thousands of border workers already getting jabs.
It will be followed by workers in the health sector and the elderly, then the general public in the middle of the year.
However, when it comes to the general population, Goff said those more at risk of contracting the infection should come first.
"The rollout of vaccines for frontline workers started in Auckland which was absolutely the right thing to do. Now I would like to see that continue for the rest of the city," he said.
"Within Auckland, we should prioritise South Auckland, and following that, the rest of the city should be prioritised."
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern yesterday told media it makes "absolute sense" that when the general vaccination programme starts, South Auckland will be first in line.
"I welcome the indication from the Prime Minister that South Auckland will be prioritised but that needs to extend to all of Auckland," Goff said.
"Auckland loses an estimated 200 jobs and $30+ million per day under Level 3 restrictions. We need the vaccine rollout to be prioritised in Auckland to help avoid future lockdowns, protect jobs and incomes, and ensure Auckland can play its role in supporting the national economic recovery."
As well, National Party leader Judith Collins has said Covid-19 vaccines should be offered to South Auckland residents ahead of the elderly in other parts of New Zealand.
"We also have a lot of people in South Auckland who work at border facilities, but also work in rest homes. We need to be realistic here and we need to say 'South Auckland does need something', and that something special happens to be vaccinations," Collins said.