Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has outlined new categories of permitted travel across Auckland's alert level 3 boundary.
With proof of a negative test result, people in Auckland will be able to cross the level 3 boundary to relocate permanently, move to a new property to start a new job, travel to tertiary education, return home, or for shared caregiving arrangements.
"At the time that Auckland moved to level 3, we announced that the boundary movements would remain the same, as in they would be very limited in order to reduce risk," Ardern said on Tuesday.
"However, there are very valid reasons that people do need to relocate."
Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield has been able to issue exemptions for a specific and genuinely urgent reason, and over the course of the outbreak he has granted 800 altogether out of roughly 6000 requests received.
But after six weeks, people's situations will naturally change and the urgency for many increases, Ardern said.
"People have been able to delay moving house for only so long, for example, or starting a new job or continuing with their tertiary education.
"Many people intend or need to leave Auckland permanently or part of their life such as their child is across the boundary and they may have shared care arrangements.
"With the move to level 3 but also with the testing requirements for people moving across the boundary, we have a high level of confidence that we can safely make some changes to border movements."
From Wednesday, she said people will be able to travel across the Auckland boundary and into a level 2 environment if they are:
- relocating permanently, either to move into a new property that they've purchased or rented, to start a new job, or to travel to a tertiary education residence
- if they have shared caregiving arrangements, for instance joint custody of a child
- if they're returning home from alert level 3 to an alert level 2 environment
There are rules.
"If you're leaving Auckland and not returning, you need to get a negative test within 72 hours before your departure. That's the same requirement as those who are already permitted to move across the border," Ardern said.
"For those who are crossing the boundary for shared caregiving arrangements, because this involves more back and forth travel, they'll need to have a test within seven days of each crossing, the same requirement for those moving freight or part of essential work."
All must carry proof of the need to travel and cannot be sick.
Ardern said travel for funerals and tangi will still only be considered on a case-by-case basis, because they are considered risky in terms of potential transmission of COVID-19.