COVID-19: Paper vaccine certificates could be used if digital ones aren't ready in time - Grant Robertson

Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson is confident COVID-19 vaccine certificates will be ready to go once New Zealand's double dose targets are met.

The Government last week announced its new COVID-19 'traffic light' system - which will kick in once the country's district health boards reach their 90 percent eligible population targets.

Vaccination certificates will play a major role in the new system, which will allow businesses to stay open regardless of COVID-19 transmission - so long as they use the certificates.

Robertson said the Government was hoping to have the certificates, which will be accessed online via 'My COVID Record', ready by next month.

He told The AM Show a paper-based system could be used in the interim, in the worst-case scenario.

"I'm very confident we'll have the vaccine certificate regime ready. If in the worst of all worlds, if we had to, we could use a paper-based system for a period of time but I'm confident - the work that I've seen and the work that we've shown to the public is well-advanced."

Robertson claimed the only thing holding up the traffic light system and vaccination certificates kicking in was the jab rates themselves.

"The thing that we're working towards is the 90 percent [vaccination] in each DHB so if you want to find something that's holding us up, it's making sure we get to that level but the work on the certificate itself is progressing really well - we've shown people what it looks like and it'll be available when we get this going," Robertson said.

He also confirmed the 'traffic light' system would kick in as soon as the 90 percent fully immunised target was reached, despite people not technically considered fully vaccinated until two weeks after their second dose.

"We're targeting the actual dosage rather than the two weeks later than that. We think people have worked really hard to get to this level and that gives us sufficient confidence to move forward when we get to the 90 percent double-dose," said Robertson. "We're looking towards that period around the end of November where we should be in a really strong position to be able to say, 'Yep, we're almost there.'"

Under the new 'traffic light' system, venues can operate without restrictions under 'green' and 'orange' and can stay open under 'red' with some restrictions. 

If vaccination certificates aren't used, venues will be limited to 100 people - even under 'green' settings.