Coronavirus: South Island level 1 bubble deemed too risky due to island-hopping Aucklanders

As part of its decision making Cabinet considered moving the whole of the South Island down to alert level 1.

But in the end, it was decided the risk was too high - as Aucklanders are still free to travel there.

People in Christchurch are feeling COVID-free and keen to shed level 2 restrictions. They didn't get that today. 

"There was some discussion around that - and the practicality of that. Keep in mind that South Islanders will also want to travel to the north," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.

But while an island-wide shift down alert levels isn't on the cards before September 16, the South could be considered separately in future.

"We will be open to considering some variation therein, very much depending on the risk we see from that current cluster so we are open to considering that," Ardern said.

While the Prime Minister is heading the COVID-19 response from the podium at Parliament, Collins was at a podium at the Canterbury Chamber of Commerce, playing up the north-south divide. 

Collins commiserating with calls for a South Island level 1 bubble but not equivocally backing them.  

"I haven't found one South Islander yet who thinks the South Island should be in a level 2 lockdown," Collins said. 

For politicians, two more weeks at level 2 means no mega crowds - groups are supposed to be small and physically-distanced.

That's difficult when meeting and greeting is the modus operandi on the election trail. 

Collins managed a bit of meet and greet yesterday, especially with the younger crowd, despite visiting Auckland after it came out of level 3.

But politicians may need to find new tools to battle out 2020.