Coronavirus: Latest on COVID-19 community outbreak - Friday, December 3

It's Freedom Day! Aucklanders can finally visit cafes, restaurants, gyms and more after 107 days in COVID-19 lockdown. 

New Zealand transitioned to the new COVID-19 Protection Framework, or 'traffic light' system, at 11:59pm on Thursday, leaving behind lockdowns for good. 

Auckland is in the red setting along with Northland, Taupō and Rotorua, Kawerau, Whakatane, Ōpōtiki, Gisborne, Wairoa, Rangitikei, Whanganui and Ruapehu. The rest of the North Island is in orange along with the entire South Island.

What you need to know

  • There are 92 new COVID-19 cases in New Zealand today. Of these 80 are in Auckland, two are in the Waikato, one is in Northland, five are in the Bay of Plenty, one is in Lakes, one is in Nelson, and two are in Taranaki. 
  • There are 79 people in hospital with COVID-19 - a decrease from yesterday. Nine of the cases are in ICU.
  • Auckland's border will open on December 15, allowing fully vaccinated Kiwis to travel to and from the region - people can also present a negative test received within 72 hours prior to departure.
  • All of New Zealand moved to the traffic light system on December 2 at 11:59pm - the Government has announced which regions will move into red and orange.

  • Workers covered by the My Vaccine Pass mandate - staff working at businesses that are required to use vaccine certificates to operate - must have their first jab by Dec 3 and be fully vaccinated by Jan 17.

  • New Zealand's international borders will begin to reopen from January - from January 17 fully vaccinated Kiwis can return home from Australia without MIQ.

  • Keep up-to-date with the latest locations of interest here.

These live updates are now closed

5:40pm - Australia, despite restrictions on international visitors, became the latest country on Friday to report community transmission of Omicron, a day after the coronavirus variant was found locally in five US states.

Australia's chief medical officer on Friday said Omicron was likely to become the dominant variant globally within months, but at this stage there was no evidence it was any more dangerous than Delta which swept the world earlier this year.

"I suspect within the [next few] months, Omicron will be the new virus in the world," Paul Kelly, the top medical advisor to the Australian government, told reporters.


5:02pm - Newshub reporter Ashleigh Yates ran into Auckland Mayor Phill Goff, who said it was great to see the city come alive again.

"It's been a fantastic day as you can see the city has come back to life again. 

"On the very day we moved into traffic light Red we hit 90 percent double-vaccinated across the city, so a great day to celebrate. 

"People have gone out and got vaccinated and now we are enjoying the freedom that goes with it. 

"I never thought I would appreciate normality as much as I do, people are out there enjoying themselves, we are three weeks from Christmas Eve and people are enjoying themselves." 

4:37pm - Grant Robertson says police have worked closely with the local community in Northland over the checkpoints that will be in place in the summer. 

“The roadblocks in Northland are police checkpoints, and as good policing would dictate, they’ve worked closely with the community - and in this case with iwi - around the design of those and they will be working with them as those checkpoints occur. 

“But it’s really important to note that they are police checkpoints and the police are the people in charge of those checkpoints, working closely with iwi. 

“I actually want to congratulate both the police in Northland and local iwi for working together on this, coming up with a solution that’s appropriate for that community. 

“Northland still has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country and there is still a need to be cautious. 

“The police know how to do this, they’ve worked closely with the community before, and I’m sure it’ll be fine. 

4:17pm - People out in Auckland's bars and nightclubs on Friday August 13 would not have imagined it would be well over 100 days until they could party again. 

On August 17 Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern put the country into a level 4 lockdown, which Auckland only fully emerged from at midnight on Thursday. 

Tonight, Friday night, is the first time Aucklanders can go to bars, clubs and restaurants since that lockdown began and the city's hospitality venues will be hoping they are in the mood to party. 

3:47pm - Deputy PM Grant Robertson said the country's high vaccination rates show Kiwis are not divided over the issue. 

Speaking to reporters today Robertson said just a handful of regions are beneath the 90 percent first dose threshold.

"Of the eligible population, we now have 93 percent with a first dose and 87 percent with full vaccination," he said.

"Of the remaining five DHBs still to reach 90 percent first dose, the Lakes DHB has just 785 more vaccinations to go and the West Coast DHB 284 to reach the target."

He says getting more than 90 percent of Kiwis to agree on anything is a "highly unusual achievement", and gives the lie to the insinuation that vaccine mandates have divided New Zealand.

3:20pm - A group of South African health bodies said on Thursday their latest findings indicated the variant posed a threefold higher risk of reinfection than the currently dominant Delta variant and the Beta strain.

The country also said it was seeing an increase in COVID-19 reinfections in patients contracting Omicron - with people who have already had the illness getting infected again - in a way that it did not see with other variants.

3:07pm - The European Union's public health agency said the variant could be responsible for more than half of all COVID infections in Europe within a few months.

Global travel curbs accelerated on Thursday in response to the threat from Omicron.

In the Netherlands, health authorities called for pre-flight COVID-19 tests for all travel from outside the European Union, after it turned out that most of the passengers who tested positive after arriving on two flights from South Africa on Nov. 26 had been vaccinated.


2:29pm - A new study suggests COVID-19 can kill you months after you've 'recovered'. 

Researchers in the US who tracked hundreds of patients for 12 months, and found those who'd been ill enough to require hospital care were more than twice as likely to die in the months after they recovered than those who never caught the virus. 

The effect was strongest in people under 65, who were 233 percent more likely to die in the year after their hospitalisation for any reason, many of which GPs probably didn't realise could be linked back to their infection. 

"Most of the deaths that occurred in severe COVID-19 survivors were not linked with common complications from the disease, such as respiratory or cardiovascular issues," the researchers said on Thursday, following the publication of the research in journal Frontiers in Medicine.

"In fact, 80 percent of such deaths occurred for a wide variety of reasons that are not typically associated with COVID-19. This suggests that the patients had experienced an overall decline in their health that left them vulnerable to various ailments."

Read the full story here

2:21pm - The Ministry of Health says an "investigation" is currently underway to determine the location of one of Waikato's new cases.

2:16pm - Here's an overview of all the new cases. 


There is one new case to report in Kaitaia today. The case is a household close contact of a previously reported case.

Following investigation, a previously reported Kaitaia case has been reclassified as not a case.

Testing and vaccination sites open in Northland can be found at Northland DHB


Today, there are 80 new cases being reported in Auckland.  

There continues to be a daily review of testing numbers and testing locations to ensure good coverage of risk areas.  

Health staff are now supporting 3582 people to isolate at home, including 1202 cases. 


There are two cases in the Waikato. The location for one of these cases is currently under investigation. The other case lives in Rotorua but is isolating in the Waikato region and is being transferred to Waikato.

There is also a case isolating in Whitianga who had recently relocated from Auckland in compliance with the border and travel requirements.  The case is currently included in Auckland’s reporting but may be transferred to Waikato.

Two new locations of interest were confirmed yesterday in Ōtorohanga.

Nine pop-up and dedicated testing sites are operating across the Waikato today in Hamilton, Huntly, Ngāruawāhia, Te Kūiti, Waharoa, Thames, Taumarunui, and Ōtorohanga.

There are two COVID-19 positive patients in Waikato Hospital ICU. 

In the Waikato, public health staff are now supporting 90 cases to isolate at home.

Bay of Plenty

Today there are five new cases to report in the Bay of Plenty. Three of these cases are contacts of known cases and were already isolating. Investigations into how the other two cases are linked to the outbreak are continuing.

One previously reported case is receiving care in Tauranga Hospital.


There is one new case to report in the Lakes district today with investigations continuing to determine how they are linked to the current outbreak.

A person previously receiving hospital care has now been discharged.


Today we are reporting two COVID-19 cases in Taranaki and announcing a further two cases, which will be officially included in tomorrow’s tally. This includes the three cases announced by the Ministry of Health yesterday, taking the total number of active cases in the region to four. A further case, which tested positive in Taranaki, is today included in the Waikato case numbers as they reside in the region.

The four cases are across linked households and have a known link to a previously reported case in Rotorua. They are all self-isolating.

On the advice of the local health unit, Devon Intermediate School in New Plymouth has closed today after it was linked to one of these cases.

Close contacts associated with the school have been identified and testing is underway today. Case interviews are ongoing, and any further locations of interest will be published at locations of interest.

2:10pm - There are two new locations of interest in Te Puke and one in Nelson. 

Joys Sushi in Te Puke on Wednesday, December 1 between 12:45pm and 2:00pm has been added, as well as New World Te Puke on Thursday, November 25 between 2:45pm and 4:00pm. The  Warehouse Stationery in Nelson is also a location of interest on Monday, November 29 between 12:45pm and 1:00pm.

1:56pm - One of the country's top infectious disease experts is begging Kiwis to stop believing the "made-up" nonsense about vaccines being spread on social media by "malignant people". 

University of Auckland epidemiologist Rod Jackson says the new restrictions will "keep vaccinated people safer because they're not going to have to interact as often with unvaccinated people", which will also give those who can't be vaccinated - such as children - better protection too. 

"Secondly, it should encourage even more people - a substantial proportion of those people are still vaccine hesitant - to get vaccinated. 

Read the full story here.

1:45pm - Ninety percent of the eligible population in Tāmaki Makaurau is now fully vaccinated, with the milestone being struck today. Waitemāta DHB has joined Auckland DHB in surpassing the mark. Counties Manukau isn’t far off, with the DHB projected to hit 90 percent within the next couple of weeks. And, 80 percent of Māori aged 12 and over in Auckland DHB are now fully vaccinated.

NRHCC vaccination programme director Matt Hannant says it's an exciting day.

"This success is a testament to the determination and relentless efforts of our Māori and Pacific providers, who have been bringing the vaccine and information to all corners of the city for months on end."

 He says the news will no doubt provide some extra comfort to Aucklanders, who today have new freedoms under the traffic light system, but also to people outside of the city in the lead-up to the border reopening and the summer holidays." 

 NRHCC Māori lead Karl Snowden says the consistent hard work on the ground has absolutely paid off.

 "It's heart-warming to hear that such a large proportion of our Māori population, who are three times more likely to be hospitalised with COVID-19, are now protected.

"Our Māori providers who have taken to the streets with their vaccination buses and campervans for months on end, don't plan on letting up until that all-important target is met."

Snowden says he's confident that Counties Manukau will hit 90 percent double-dose very soon.

1:40pm - Robertson said businesses that are deliberately flouting the vaccine pass rules can expect "follow up action". But he said the Government is taking an educational approach initially. 

1:35pm - There are 961 cases isolating across the country, Robertson said.  

1:34pm - Robertson said the delta outbreak has set New Zealand up well to deal with new variants. 

1:33pm - McElnay said health officials are keeping a very close eye on the omicron variant and will release more advice next week.

1:30pm - He said Auckland is in red because there is still an active outbreak. 

1:29pm - Robertson said any checkpoints in Northland over summer will be run by police. He said iwi can work with the police but they are run by the authorities. 

"I don't think this is anything for anybody to be worried about - this is actually really good community policing."

1:27pm - McElnay said it's very encouraging case numbers are falling in Auckland, which shows vaccines are working.

1:26pm - Robertson said people are entitled to hold different views but the numbers show as a country New Zealand is pro-vacation.

1:25pm- The Deputy Prime Minister also asked Nelson residents to remain vigilant as another case is announced in the region. 

McElnay said there are 14 active cases in the area, which are being managed by the public health unit. 

She said it's good news that testing numbers are up. 

Robertson at this stage a move to red isn't on the cards.

1:23pm - He said it's up to individual councils to decide whether they require vaccines or not to enter the premises.

1:20pm - Robertson said there will be no more Friday press conferences for the rest of the year.

1:18pm - He also thanked businesses for their cooperation and warned there may be teething problems while the new system is bedded in.

1:17pm - Robertson said of the eligible population 93 percent have had their first dose and 87 who are fully vaccinated. 

"I do want to pause here to thank all New Zealanders for their actions to keep them, their families and their communities safe. 

1:14pm - She urged Kiwis to remain vigilant despite the new freedoms under the traffic light system. 

1:12pm - McElnay said Waitematā and Canterbury have become the third and fourth DBHs to reach 90 percent fully vaccinated. Auckland and Capital and Coast have also reached the milestone.

1:10pm - There are 79 people in hospital with COVID-19 - a decrease from yesterday. Nine of the cases are in ICU.

1:07pm - Wastewater samples have returned positive results in Matamata on November 29 and Gisborne on December 1, Director of Public Health Caroline McElnay said. Follow up testing is underway. 

1:05pm - There are 92 new COVID-19 cases in New Zealand today. Of these 80 are in Auckland, two are in the Waikato, one is in Northland, five are in the Bay of Plenty, one is in Lakes, one is in Nelson, and two are in Taranaki. 

12:44pm - The owner of Auckland bar Parasol & Swing Jason Rosen says the red setting is worse than lockdown because at least in lockdown they have access to the wage subsidy.

"It's been a very challenging couple of months and there's still a challenging road ahead.

"We are very nervous in general. The main thing we are worried about is how long the red light will go. Under the red light we can only operate at about 45 percent capacity."

12:35pm - Rhythm and Vines co-founder Hamish Pinkham says he's "slightly relieved" after making the call to postpone the Gisborne-based New Year's Eve festival until Easter. 

"We've got a plan in place - our team has been working really hard these last few months," Pinkham told the AM Show on Friday morning, following the announcement of the new dates on Thursday night. 

"The punters have certainly been very patient waiting to hear the outcome, but look, we've taken the sensible decision to just push out New Years for a few months and allow enough time for Gisborne to get on top of the current situation."  

Read more here

12:34pm - National's new leader Christopher Luxon says moving Auckland to the red setting isn't enough. 

"After 100+ days of lockdown and after endless announcements of announcements, Aucklanders finally have some freedoms. 

"But it's quite obvious there's not enough and there's a lot more the Government could be doing."

Luxon went on to say Auckland shouldn't be in the red setting when its hospitals aren't overwhelmed. 

"Why is Auckland in a red light system? That is designed for when the country has an overwhelmed health system and by the Prime Minister's own admission, she's saying the healthcare system is fine, and we have some of the highest vaccination rates of any city on planet Earth. 

"These businesses [hospitality venues] which have been doing it tough for so, so long… they're still operating under huge restrictions and that’s causing real challenges for them." 

He also criticised the Government's decision to place the entire South Island into the orange setting. 

"It makes no sense, frankly, the whole of the South Island being in orange. That's our issue with the whole traffic light system. It's another example of a government that's just doing things on the fly and making it up as it goes and it's always Johnny-come-lately, right? It's always never quite thought through."

12:20pm - Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson and Director of Public Health Caroline McElnay are providing a COVID-19 update at 1pm. You can watch the stream on

12:11pm - Researchers looked at the data of almost three million South Africans who were previously infected with COVID-19 to see whether the risk of getting reinfected has changed with the arrival of the Beta, Delta, and Omicron variants. They found the Omicron variant is linked with a "substantial ability" to evade the immunity built up from a prior infection, while there was no such evidence of the Beta or Delta variants doing so.

University of Auckland associate professor Siouxsie Wiles said it's still unknown how vaccinations will affect the omicron variant. 

"Researchers in South Africa are doing an incredible job of trying to find out as much as they can about the new omicron variant as fast as possible and sharing it with the world…

"Their data suggests the risk of reinfection with omicron could be about three times higher than with beta and delta suggesting the constellation of mutations omicron possesses can help it evade our immune system.

"One confounding factor could be that the arrival of omicron may have coincided with people's immunity waning after their previous infection. However, there is anecdotal evidence from other confirmed cases around the world that the omicron variant may more easily infect fully vaccinated people suggesting this increased risk of reinfection is real.

"What we don't yet know is how well being vaccinated or having had COVID-19 is able to protect people from having severe disease after infection with the omicron variant. This is something it will take a few weeks to months to find out."

12:03pm - There's a new location of interest in New Plymouth. Four Square Blagdon on Thursday, December 2 between 11:45am and 12:15pm has been added to the list. 

12:01pm -  New Zealand health teams have processed more than five million COVID tests. 

Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall congratulated healthcare professionals on reaching the milestone. 

"This really is an incredible and sustained team effort. Thousands of people make up our skilled workforce carrying out the testing. 

 "It's because of the hard work and dedication of each of them, we have seen so many tests carried out, processed and followed up.

"I also want to thank the millions of New Zealanders who have been tested, sometimes more than once.

 "Each one of those tests has contributed to our knowledge about the virus and its prevalence in New Zealand. To everyone who has been part of the process, I want to acknowledge and thank you for your contribution. You have made a difference."

11:53am - Unite Union is advising all hospitality workers to put their own and customers' safety ahead of business as the country begins its first day in the traffic light setting. 

"If not following your employer's instructions is what it takes to stay safe then so be it," said National Secretary John Crocker. 

"The Health and Safety at Work Act is very clear - employees do not have to follow orders that are not safe. Currently, hospitality workers are expected to follow stringent guidelines to provide safe service for their customers. Unite expects employers to exercise the same care and consideration in providing a safe workplace for their staff."

Crocker says the union has major concerns about hospo workers policing vaccine passes and workers potentially being exposed to COVID. 

"There is a consensus between unions, government and employers that staff who are not trained security professionals should not try to confront unvaccinated customers who refuse to show their pass. Unite's view, however, is that no employee should be forced to check passes if they don’t feel safe doing that.

"But the real problem is that just letting unvaccinated people inside to avoid confrontation actually creates more problems than it solves. You then have an aggressive, unvaccinated, likely unmasked person in the workplace, who is also not likely to follow safe social distancing."

Crocker said workers are facing a very real risk both of further physical and verbal aggression. 

"We are concerned that employees will be forced to serve these customers in the name of expediency. Not only will that put employees and customers at risk, but it will only take hours for word to get around the anti-vax online groups that just pushing through at that place will get you served without showing a vaccine pass.

"If that happens we advise workers to simply withdraw to a safe distance or place and call the police or whatever other professional security is available. If employers find that too disruptive then they should either pay for security guards at the door or stand there themselves, rather than put their employees at risk." 

11:40am - Aucklanders are making the most of the new freedoms with cafes in the central city bustling with patrons.

Table service and seating dining returns to restaurants and cafes on Ponsonby Road.
Table service and seating dining returns to restaurants and cafes on Ponsonby Road. Photo credit: Getty Images

11:27am - Police have revealed they will work with iwi in Te Tai Tokerau to set up roadblocks to check vaccine passes over the summer period. 

Police Commissioner Andrew Coster told Morning Report they have a good relationship working with the iwi in the north.

"Our conversation with iwi has been about creating assurance that people travelling north do meet the requirements; obviously there's been a lot of concern up there and what we want to do is make sure that we are working in partnership with iwi, including so we can avoid any unlawful actions like the blocking of roads."

Read more here

10:57am - Auckland mayor Phil Goff told The AM Show the restrictions have been really tough on businesses and people's mental health. 

"Thank god it looks like we are not going to go back to lockdowns because we are over that."

"I'm feeling fine but I've got to tell you what I am witnessing around me is a lot of people on edge. Even at our council meetings you can just see the strain that people have been under, the unnaturalness of not being able to see friends and family, not being able to turn up at work.

"What you miss is being able to have a chat with someone over a cup of tea.. That sort of informal mixing, we've lost that."

Goff said other mayors are weary of Aucklanders visiting but it's time they welcomed visitors. 

"I've been pretty straightforward. I've said, 'Listen guys, we've locked ourselves down for all of this time to keep you safe, we have done this on behalf of New Zealand, we've gone out and we've got a city now that is 93 percent first vaccination, just about 90 percent second vaccination. We've done the right things, please don't tell us we've got to stay in our patch because your people haven't got vaccinated'," he said. 

10:36am - There are several new locations of interest in Taupō.

WOF and REGO Centre Vehicle Testing on Monday, November 29 between 3:30pm and 4:30pm and Tuesday, November 30 between 11:00 am - 12:00pm has been added to the list. Bridgestone Tyre Centre on November 29 between 12:30pm and 1:30pm has also been added. 

9:52am - The Sky Tower will light up tonight in celebration of the country's move to the traffic light system. 

"The Sky Tower will dance between red, orange and green representing the new traffic light system colours.  

"Then from tomorrow, the Sky Tower will remain lit in traffic light red until Auckland moves into the orange or green setting," SkyCity said in a statement. 

9:46am - Auckland mayor Phil Goff says the lockdown has been tough for people and businesses and he's excited the city is opening up.

9:42am - NZ Police are urging Kiwis to obey the traffic light settings. 

9:33am - Despite being allowed to open for the first time in 107 restaurants and bars are concerned they won't get enough visitors in red to stay a float.

Soul Bar and Bistro's commercial and events manager Olivia Carter said they are excited to open but concerned about the traffic light settings.

"If you are deciding that you're not going to come into whatever restaurant it is, please ring them and let them know because you not showing up with six people really is huge to us and if they can get somebody else in on that table of six then that's really important," she said. 

It's a concern shared by Family Bar Operations manager Grady Elliott. 

"Sixty percent of our turnover is still under lock and key and is going to be in that orange light situation so we're still stuffed and plans for New Year's Eve, well, we don't even know if we'll be doing New Year's Eve at the moment it's all a bit up in limbo."

Read the full story here

9:16am - Emergency Management Committee Chair and Coromandel Councillor Sally Christie says the new case will be one of many when the border opens to Aucklanders. 

"We are expecting that this is the first of potentially many instances like this as the border opens and New Zealanders move around the country more."

She said the case is considered low risk and is self-isolating. 

"We've had a case confirmed in Whitianga and the people have been self-isolating, they are double vaccinated and we are expecting it is a low risk for community exposure.

"Our role is to support and the Ministry of Health is leading the health [response]. None of us are health experts, we are experts on leading the community through such events so yes, they've had quick advice about how to look after themselves and how to protect others. They are apparently doing that very well and we thank them for that. 

Christie said people need to be kind and encourage people to take early action if they feel unwell. 

"As communities, we need to be kind to people because it could happen to any of us and we need people to feel safe to get tested, get vaccinated and seek early help if they feel unwell. By being nasty to people that's going to send people underground rather than helping us prevent spread." 

9:03am - Coromandel's mayor Sandra Goudie confirmed there is a new COVID case in the town. 

But the Ministry of Health wouldn't provide details telling Newshub any new cases will be released at 1pm.

8:50am - Chris Bishop says the vaccine certificate rollout is a shambles.

"It's a shambles. I've been contacted by many New Zealanders who have been vaccinated overseas who can't get their overseas vaccinations recognised in the system, so they can't get a pass today. It's unbelievable. 

"The vaccine pass system starts today, traffic light day, and you've got people who literally can't get the passes, and because they can't get the passes, they can't go out for dinner tonight because they got vaccinated overseas. Unbelievable."

But Labour MP David Parker says it's going "outstandingly well". 

"We can't just accept it at face value… We are rolling out a new system as we transition from border protection to vaccine protection. Yeah, there will be a few bugs in the system as there have been as we've done things urgently all the way through here, but I think it's a pretty remarkable turnaround since Delta arrived in August."

"Every step in this process is hard, every piece of it is complicated. There is so much under the hood when you change from border protection to vaccine protection, and I think it's going outstandingly well."

Read the full story here

8:45am - Auckland mayor Phil Goff says the new system seems to be going quite well. 

"It seems to be going well but with any new system there are bound to be bugs." 

He said people are thrilled to be getting back to some normality.

8:40am - The Government is backing the vaccine passport rollout despite the fact 75,000 people are still waiting for their pass. 

But National MP Chris Bishop says it simply is not good enough. 

"It's Unbelievable, the vaccine pass system starts today...and you've got people who literally can't get the's unbelievable." 

8:24am - Coromandel District Council spokesperson Garry Towler told RNZ the new case was confirmed last night.  

8:17am - There is a new COVID-19 case in the Coromandel, according to Radio New Zealand. The person is reportedly fully vaccinated and considered a low risk.

8:08am - Mayors across the country are reacting to the new settings. 

In Rotorua, mayor Steve Chadwick says the city has to focus on getting vaccination rates up after its move to red. 

Meanwhile Queenstown mayor Jim Boult says the orange setting won't provide much relief for the area, which is heavily reliant on international tourism.

7:54am -  A normally jam-packed Gisborne will be quiet this New Year with the country's biggest festival postponed.

Rhythm and Vines will now be held over the Easter break next year.

CEO Kieran Spill-arne says the decision needed to be made. 

He said the organisers are committed to holding the event when it's safe to do so. 

7:47am - Aucklanders made the most of the new settings flocking to Danny Doolans when it opened last night. 

Multiple people said they turned up to the bar even though they had work the next morning. 

"It feels very strange actually it's been a long feels good at the same time," one woman said.

7:43am -  There's relief and excitement from the Auckland hospitality sector as they dust off their aprons.

 Pineapple on Parnell Bartender Dario Drag-Gotta says it's been a long time coming.

7:40am - Here's a reminder of all the dos and don'ts of the new system.

7:35am - Auckland waterfront bar owner Leo Molloy says using the vaccine pass is "very slow" and a serious issue for businesses. 

"We found a couple of wrinkly design faults last night but I think we would have processed between 50 to 80 in the first 25 minutes," he told The AM Show. 

"The processing of those QR codes and authentication of the COVID vaccine certificates is very, very slow. We bought four handheld devices to do it but it's very slow if the host phone has an impediment of any kind - the screen is greasy, the brightness is not right up, it has a crack in the screen. It could slow you down hugely. 

"The first 50 last night took 25 minutes. Well we've got 350 booked for lunch today, plus we will get 300 walk-ins so that could potentially take us two and a half hours and you've only got two and a half to three hours set aside per person… So that's a serious issue that we have to address."

Read the full story here