NZ First leader Winston Peters says the decision to keep the rest of New Zealand at Alert Level 2 for at least another week is "soundless and the common sense approach hasn't been taken".
New Zealand will move to Alert Level 1 next Monday, September 21 at 11.59pm contingent on the Covid-19 outbreak situation, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today, with Auckland's Level 2.5 to be reviewed on the same day.
"There's no need to take this enormous economic risk and inconvenience when you haven't got the justification either in terms of the medical evidence or, dare I say, the economic climate we're facing, to go down that pathway," Peters said.
"We've got all these other weeks added on which just back up - they're soundless and the common sense approach hasn't been taken.
He said he had told Cabinet and made his views "very clear".
"We said there was no justification of setting the South Island and the rest of the country in (Level 2) in the first place.
"It's not the first time we've said it."
Peters said he thought Auckland should be at Level 2 instead of 2.5, "and the masks and the safety measures done properly".
"We've got to get rid of this problem in Auckland which should never have arisen should be precautions been taken in the first place."
On why the rest of the country could not immediately move to Alert Level 1, Ardern said modelling by the Ministry of Health suggested there is a 25 per cent chance of Covid-19 cases spreading outside of Auckland.
"So while the cases are currently in Auckland, with inter-regional travel open there remains a risk of spreading the virus to the rest of the country."