Opinion: Orange is the new Green

OPINION: Orange is the new Green, and we don't need the green light for a classic Kiwi summer.

Green signifies a freedom we've all been yearning for - it's difficult to drown out the calls. But who would Green set free?

For 89 percent of us Green will not make a dot of difference to what we are allowed to do.

For the double-vaccinated there is absolutely no change to our lives if Orange flips to Green - other than the fact we'll be mingling with the unvaxxed in potentially high-risk settings.

At Green hospitality venues could - if they so chose - open to 100 anti-vaxxers for New Year's Eve. A single case in that environment could turn into a cluster of epic proportions - we saw that happen with the Alpha variant from a St Paddy's Day party at the pub. Granted there are spacing, seated requirements at Green but it's still a risk.

Moving to Orange is pragmatic, for those of us living it now - it feels like the new normal. Orange will feel like the ultimate freedom to Aucklanders after four months locked inside.

This decision probably could've been signalled earlier - there was no way this hyper-cautious Government would move settings and remove restrictions quickly without a few weeks to assess the impact of their decisions.

We're used to bad news now - they could have been upfront and told Red regions they'll keep the festive colour for Christmas.

While Red is restrictive, and will be difficult for families who need to cap their numbers at 25 as they have unvaccinated folk planning to attend for their share of the Christmas ham, it makes sense to step slowly out of the lockdown.

While most of the country - definitely the South Island - is by all measures ready to go green, and case numbers are tapering off, there are still risks to keep an eye on.

Vaccination rates are high but we tend to go off the beaten track for summer - and the healthcare services off the beaten track are stretched at the best of times.

Aucklanders are due to be set free from their city into regions that haven't had COVID before. We don't know how some of our smaller DHBs will deal with Delta.

We are not out of the woods. Orange is a sensible setting for summer.

Jenna Lynch is Newshub's political reporter.