COVID-19 alert level 2: Gatherings can increase to 100 at noon on Friday, 29 May

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced that gatherings can increase to 100 people on Friday, 29 May, from 12pm onwards.

"Cabinet has decided to increase the size of all gatherings to 100 from 12 noon this Friday, 29 May," she said on Monday. "This means gatherings such as church services, weddings and funerals can now have 100 people present."

Speaking at her post-Cabinet press conference, the Prime Minister said there will no longer be a need for funerals or tangihanga to pre-register via the Ministry of Health.

The move to 100 people will allow community sport to "operate more easily", Ardern said, but large-scale events like concerts will still be restricted by the rules.

"The shift to a 100-person maximum means many more gatherings will be able to occur from now on. These changes are good news for business and those looking to plan larger gatherings," Ardern said.

"It's another step in renormalising life as we continue to stamp out the virus."

The Prime Minister said the Government wants to shift "as quickly and safely as possible" to alert level 1, so Cabinet will review the settings on June 8, and no later than June 22 a decision will be made on whether to make the move.

Ardern said it is based on the advice of Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield.

"The fact that we are even making these decisions shows the success we've had to date as a country in fighting the virus and highlights we can now make choices many others can't," she said.

"In fact, the increase in gathering size means we now have some of the most permissive settings of any of the countries we compare ourselves to, including Australia."

Ardern said "going hard and going early" on COVID-19 has "paid off for the economy", and she urged New Zealanders to "continue the level of vigilance that has got us here".

"We are still in a global pandemic, cases continue to grow overseas, and we do still have people coming home, but for the most part, many aspects of life can and should feel much more normal... Let's not lose that advantage."

It comes as the Ministry of Health reported no new cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand on Monday, after reporting no new cases on Sunday either, or the day before that.

But New Zealand is not exempt from the economic impact of COVID-19, and the Prime Minister said the Government's priority is helping Kiwis keep their jobs.

"But we know there will be job losses, and for many, losing their job will be incredibly hard on them and their family financially," Ardern said. "That is why we announced enhanced financial support for New Zealanders who lost their job due to the virus."

You can read more about that here.

"Our team of 5 million stuck together to fight the virus and now we need to stick together to support those bearing the brunt of the virus' economic impact.

"I urged New Zealanders to be kind to each other during lockdown and we now need to continue that support to one another during our economic response."

The Prime Minister is asking Kiwis who hold parties this weekend to keep a list of who you invited.

"It is still really important that people keep those digital diaries... for a wedding that's obviously quite straight forward because you're sending our invitations, but do just keep a log of who it is that's participating in your events."

Ardern said Friday was the earliest time the changes to gathering limits could be made.