Co-host of The Project Jesse Mulligan has stern words for Aucklanders who are unhappy at having to stay in alert level 2.5 for another week - "what's wrong with you?"
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Monday the current alert levels for Auckland and the rest of New Zealand will stay at 2.5 and 2 until at least next week.
Cabinet will review Auckland's alert level on September 21 where there will be a view to increase the size of gatherings if the cluster is contained. The rest of New Zealand will stay in alert level 2 until 11:59pm on September 21, where Cabinet has agreed in principle it will move to alert level 1. This is contingent on case numbers staying as they are and this move will be confirmed on Monday.
Mulligan said even though a lot of people are tired of not being in level 1, New Zealand is "barely hanging on" to low daily case numbers with the current restrictions.
There was just one new case announced on Monday, and there are 96 current active cases. Of this, 57 were found in the community. The Auckland August cluster has seen 177 cases so far.
"I honestly don't know what sort of person is seeing infectious people go to funerals and church services and aerobics classes and says 'well this is going awesome, let's relax things up a bit'," he said on Monday during The Project.
The Mt Roskill Evangelical Fellowship Church sub-cluster and a bereavement sub-cluster have been at the centre of cases, and a quarantine worker who attended Les Mills fitness classes was recently found to be infected.
"For the people claiming Auckland needs to move levels, what's wrong with you? Honestly, why, because you're sick of it? I'm sick of level 2.5 as well," Mulligan said.
"If you think the Government is getting it wrong, tell me which other country you want New Zealand to be more like right now."
Ardern said while cases are contained in Auckland, inter-regional travel poses a risk of spreading the virus throughout the rest of the country and that's why alert levels were extended.
"We haven't had many days without new cases appearing in Auckland and it only requires one person travelling and attending a super-spreader event somewhere else in the country and we could be looking at further restrictions elsewhere," she said on Monday.
"So the level 2 precautions we have in place continue to act as a safety barrier for flare-ups in the rest of New Zealand."
The last time the country moved from level 2 to level 1, New Zealanders had spent 26 days at level 2 and there had been 17 days of no new cases, Ardern said.
"So far we have spent 14 days at what we are calling [level] 2.5 in Auckland and have had cases in the community continue to emerge every day bar one," she said
"While no new community cases is not a measure in and of itself for moving down levels, as we know more cases will emerge from this cluster's tail, these cases can continue to pose risks.
"So while our aim is to speedily move down alert levels safely, we also need to be focused on the future, on getting back to level 1, but in a sustained way and not rushing there only to have to bounce out of it soon after."