Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says how long Aotearoa will stay in lockdown amid the Covid-19 pandemic hinges on whether New Zealanders keep abiding by the lockdown restrictions.
Yesterday Ms Ardern announced that New Zealand’s Covid-19 Alert Level 4 lockdown will end at 11.59pm Monday April 27, before Alert Level 3 lockdown kicks in for at least two weeks.
When asked this morning on TVNZ 1's Breakfast about how long Kiwis can expect the country to stay at Level 3, Ms Ardern told host John Campbell it was in the hands of every New Zealander.
"The best chance of us getting out of it quickly is if we all follow the rules while we're there," she said.
"I am hopeful, but it all depends again on how we do from here, so it's within everyone's power, and this is why it is a collective effort and why we're a team of five million."
Ms Ardern yesterday said that at Level 3, "there are slightly more opportunities for you to come into contact with people outside your bubble".
The move to Level 3 will also mean a partial reopening of businesses, food delivery, drive-throughs, and click and collect at cafes, some schools reopening for the children of essential workers and travel restrictions moving from local to regional.
"I see it as ultimately a decision that balances the needs that are in front of us," she told Breakfast this morning.
"That word compromise, I don't want it to ever be perceived that we have made a decision where we're gambling with people's lives or livelihoods.
"Everything has had to come with judgement and our view was we wanted to really lock in the gains of Level 4 and not put us in a position where we risk those.
"The thing that gave us the best chance then of locking that in and then moving forward with greater certainty that we wouldn't have to go backwards was just taking those extra days and so that's why we made that decision. That then meant that we could protect people's lives and also do the best we could on their livelihoods."
But as more Kiwis go back to work, Ms Ardern reminded people to continue social distancing, meaning no after work or weekend gatherings with co-workers.
"The best thing we can do is protect people's health and ease people back in," she said.
Ms Ardern also said this pandemic was like nothing ever seen in our lifetime, so the Government was scaling up the public health sector to be "a gold standard service", including in its contact centre and bolstering technology to easier share information.