Government under pressure to explain when New Zealand will stop relying on COVID-19 lockdowns

With the country growing weary of ongoing lockdowns and the potential for more in the future, pressure is on the Government to explain when we'll stop relying on the extreme alert levels.

Sir Ian Taylor's company creates some of the world's most sought after graphics - sports contracts worth millions. He's just been asked to bid to do all the cricket on the subcontinent.

"Really valuable but we've had to decline because we can't send anybody to the subcontinent without knowing we can bring them back and put them in an MIQ," he told Newshub. 

And businesses have solutions - their own rigorous isolation and safety regimes, ways to lessen the lockdown lows and start reopening the country. 

"The frustration that I had was that I don't know who we talk to to say 'there's another way to do this'," says Sir Ian. 

It's not just business - but everyone - growing weary of longer lockdowns... and the prospect of more.

People Newshub spoke to in New Zealand said there were "sick of it", "tired of it" and "totally over it". 

Vaccination is key to ending lockdowns. So far 33.7 percent of us are double dosed, but scientists say chop chop, because lockdowns cause harm too.

"Are you getting your heart checked? Are you getting your colonoscopy? Are you getting your skin checked for melanoma? The family violence, the women's refuge - all these things are under real pressure," says Professor Graham Le Gros, a Professor of the School of Biological Sciences at Victoria University of Wellington.

The Government is under real pressure to say how much longer lockdowns will be the first resort.

"We need to make sure we have New Zealanders vaccinated in order to make sure that we don't have to use lockdowns as a tool to prevent these large scale outbreaks that take people's lives," said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. 

And we're not there yet.

"There's a lot of water to flow under the bridge," said Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield. 

It's a fine balance. Countries like the UK are learning to live with the virus. Scotland has roughly the same population as New Zealand and it's 69.1 percent fully vaccinated, but still recorded 58 deaths in its last weekly report. 

"Even if you do look - and we're looking every day - at other countries with high vaccination rates that have opened up, they are still having to use restrictions on and off," said Dr Bloomfield. 

Matthew Lesh is the head of a UK right-wing think tank living in unrestricted London. He can't believe we're still locking down in New Zealand. 

"It does risk becoming that isolated dystopia if you continue with an extreme strategy when it's no longer necessary in the context of a vaccinated population," he says. 

The problem is, we're not yet a vaccinated population.