Live UpdatesDec 5 2021


106 new Covid-19 cases, including the first in Whanganui

There are 106 new Covid-19 cases in the community, breaking the two-day streak of fewer than 100 new cases.

Of today’s cases, 93 in Auckland, eight are in Waikato, three are in Northland, one is in Whanganui and one is in Christchurch.

There are 77 people in hospital with Covid-19, including seven in intensive care. Of the cases in hospital, 56% are unvaccinated or ineligible, 25% are partially immunised, 13% are fully vaccinated and 6% are unknown.

The total number of cases in the current community outbreak is 9037.

Two DHBs, Auckland and Capital and Coast DHBs, have now reached the milestone of 90% of their eligible Māori population having had their first vaccination.

This is closely followed by four other DHBs – Waitemata, MidCentral, Hutt Valley and Wairarapa DHBs, all with eligible Māori population vaccination rates at or above 87% for first vaccinations.

New Zealand now has 88% of its total eligible population nationwide (aged 12 and over) fully vaccinated.

Northland update

There are three new cases in Northland. Two are close contacts of previously reported cases, based in Kaitaia, and have already been isolating.

The third case is an essential worker, based in Whangarei, who regularly travels to Auckland for work. This person’s result was picked up through routine surveillance testing.

Auckland update

Today, there are 93 new cases reported in Auckland. Health staff are now supporting 3,628 people to isolate at home, including 857 cases.

Waikato update

Today there are eight new cases in Waikato – two in Hamilton, two in Te Kūiti, three in Piopio (near Te Kūiti) and one in Huntly. Seven of the cases have been linked to previous cases and the eighth case is under investigation.

Health staff are now supporting 107 cases to isolate at home.

Whanganui update

There is a new case in Whanganui.

Public health staff are continuing to investigate but it appears the case recently travelled out of the city and is likely to have links to previously reported cases outside the region.

The person became symptomatic on Thursday and was tested on Friday before receiving their result yesterday. Since the test, the person has been isolating in a dedicated community facility.

As investigations continue, a number of locations of interest have today been identified.  Two have already been published today and more are expected this afternoon on the ministry’s webpage.

Canterbury update

There are two new cases to report in Canterbury today and one case reported yesterday which has today been formally added to the case tally.

Yesterday’s case has been clearly linked to other cases in the Nelson-Tasman area. Canterbury DHB report that as soon as the person in Canterbury learned of their contact the person got a test and had been isolating at home since that time. The person’s prompt actions have reduced the chances of further spread and underline the importance of getting a test immediately if you have been to a location of interest, are identified as a contact or possible contact of a case, or if you have any cold or flu-like symptoms.

The two latest cases, one of whom is a young child from the same household as yesterday’s case and the other is a close contact of yesterday’s case. All three were transferred to an MIQ facility yesterday. Work on tracing close contacts of these three cases is ongoing.

The latest two cases were notified after the Ministry’s 9am reporting cut off and will be added to the case tally tomorrow.

Dec 4 2021

98 new community cases of Covid-19, with 21 in Waikato

There are 98 new Covid-19 cases in the community, the second consecutive day with fewer than 100 new cases.

Of today’s cases, 64 in Auckland, 21 are in Waikato, six are in Bay of Plenty, three are in Northland, one is in Lakes DHB and one is in Nelson. There have now been 500 community cases in Waikato in this outbreak, half of whom have recovered. Four previously reported Taranaki cases who were tested in Taranaki, but normally reside in the Waikato have been reclassified as Waikato cases.

There are 73 people in hospital with Covid-19, including seven in intensive care. Of the cases in hospital, 57% are unvaccinated or ineligible, 23% are partially immunised, 14% are fully vaccinated and 6% are unknown.

The total number of cases in the current community outbreak is 8,931.


The virus has been detected in a second wastewater sample taken on Thursday this week, in Tairāwhiti Gisborne.

Public Health Officials are not aware of any recovered cases in the region who may be shedding the virus and believe there is a strong possibility there could be an undetected case in the community. Anyone living in the region with any symptoms that could be Covid-19 – no matter how mild – is encouraged to get a test.

Testing is available today and over the weekend at the following location:

  • Drive-through at 110 Peel Street
    • 1pm – 5pm (today)
    • Saturday and Sunday: 9am – 4pm

See here for vaccination centres operating today and over the weekend.


There are three new cases to report in Kaitaia today; all are household contacts of a previously reported case.

Testing and vaccination sites open in Northland can be found on the Northland DHB website.


Today, there are 64 new cases being reported in Auckland.

There continues to be a daily review of testing numbers and testing locations to ensure good coverage of risk areas.

Health staff are now supporting 3,652 people to isolate at home, including 908 cases.


There are 21 new cases to report in the Waikato.

Four previously reported Taranaki cases who were tested in Taranaki, but normally reside in the Waikato have been reclassified as Waikato cases.  The ministry continues to encourage anyone with any symptoms that could be Covid-19 to get a test, particularly those living in Te Kūiti.

Seven pop-up and dedicated testing sites are operating across the Waikato today in Hamilton, Huntly, Te Kūiti, Thames, Taumarunui, and Ōtorohanga.

For a full list of testing and vaccination centres open this weekend in the Waikato, see the DHB website.

Bay of Plenty

There are six new cases to report in the Bay of Plenty today. All six cases are in the Western Bay of Plenty and are contacts of existing cases. One case is receiving care in Tauranga Hospital.


There is one new case to report in Mangakino today. The case was tested in the Waikato and is being managed by the Waikato DHB.

Testing and vaccination is being stood up in the area today. Details on the hours and location will be available from the Lakes DHB Facebook page.


There is one linked case to report today in Nelson-Tasman today.

A number of locations of interest have been published for Nelson-Tasman and the ministry asks people living in the region to check these daily.

Several pop-up testing sites are open today and tomorrow:

  • Saxton Fields carpark, Suffolk Rd, Stoke, 9am to 6pm
  • Trafalgar Centre carpark, Paru Paru Rd, Nelson, 9am to 5pm
  • Richmond Showgrounds, 359 Lower Queen St, 9am to 6pm
  • Motueka Recreation Centre: Old Wharf Rd, Motueka, 10am to 3pm

Anyone with any mild symptoms that could be Covid-19 is asked to get a test.


There is one new case to report in Canterbury today. Case interviews are underway to determine how they are linked to the outbreak and identify any contacts and exposure events.

The case was notified after the ministry’s 9am reporting cut off and will be added to the case tally tomorrow.

Dec 3 2021

Art Laureate award for queer artists announced

The Arts Foundation Te Tumu Toi o Aotearoa has announced that as of 2022, it will be handing out a new award as part of its regular Arts Foundation Te Tumu Toi Laureates specifically for queer artists. The award, named Toi Kō Iriiri, will recognise and celebrate an outstanding queer artist who meets their existing laureate criteria, and will support their mahi with a $30,000 gift.

The inaugural recipient will be announced alongside the other Arts Foundation Laureates in August 2022. The award, the first of its kind in this country, will celebrate an outstanding artist (or collective of artists) whose work is representative of the queer community and contributes to social change.

The award is funded by philanthropist Hall Cannon, who has committed to backing the award for the next 10 years. and its name was gifted by Green MP Dr Elizabeth Kerekere.

Luxon says Auckland should have gone straight to green setting

Christopher Luxon has taken his comments about the traffic light framework even further, calling for Auckland to move straight to green. Currently, as the epicentre of the delta outbreak, Auckland is in red.

In an earlier press statement today, which I quoted from here, Luxon criticised the move into the red setting. However, he did not suggest that Auckland should be in green.

When questioned by media this afternoon in downtown Auckland while visiting local businesses, the new National Party leader said: “This sector here is ready for Auckland to go straight to green… there’s just no logic to his traffic light system.”

The National Party did not support the traffic light system, Luxon said, and the country should have opened up once vaccination rates hit high levels.

The Friday Quiz is on Instagram

Head to The Spinoff’s Instagram stories for this week’s edition of the thrilling and future-award-winning Friday News Quiz.

Sadly, due to some minor technical issues this week’s edition won’t be able to run here in the live updates feed but we’re hoping to have this problem fixed as soon as possible. Test your knowledge now!

The shape of the delta outbreak

There were 39,553 total vaccine doses administered yesterday, including 8,600 first doses and 16,641 second doses. To date, 93% of eligible people in New Zealand have had their first dose and 87% are fully vaccinated.

Here’s a look at how the outbreak’s shaping as we move into the traffic light framework. For more, visit our Covid Tracker page here.

92 new Covid-19 cases: the first sub-100 day in five weeks

There are 92 new Covid-19 cases in the community, a significant drop from the daily numbers recorded in recent weeks. It’s the first time since October 28 that daily cases have been below 100.

Of today’s cases, 80 in Auckland, two are in Waikato, one is Northland, five are Bay of Plenty, one is in Lakes DHB, one is in Nelson and two are in Taranaki.

Another three Taranaki cases will be officially added to the tally tomorrow. These cases are known contacts, bringing total of active cases in Taranaki to five. They are self-isolating across three separate households in New Plymouth, Rotorua and Waikato.

There are 79 people in hospital with Covid-19, including nine in intensive care.

Two more DHBs have hit the crucial 90% fully vaccinated threshold for the eligible population: Waitematā and Canterbury.

Speaking at parliament on the first day of the new traffic light framework, deputy prime minister Grant Robertson said 3.2 million people have now downloaded their vaccine pass. He said the country was only in the position to transition to the new framework because of the work we have done over the past two years of the pandemic.

“Some people have tried to portray us as a divided nation on vaccination,” said Robertson. “The numbers simply do not bear that out.”

Two Nelson schools are continuing to battle individual delta clusters, with more than a dozen Covid cases in the community. Despite this, there is no plan to move the area to the “red” setting of the traffic light framework. “At this stage there is no particular cause for alarm in Nelson/Marlborough,” said McElnay, adding that testing rates have been good.

The best way to read The Spinoff

As you will have noticed, The Spinoff has had a glow up – a full redesign and incredibly fast new platform across mobile and desktop (read Toby Morris explaining it here). What’s even better is our two amazing new apps, one for iPhone, the other Android. They’re probably the best way to stay across everything we’re doing – and if you turn on push notifications you’ll get the Covid-19 numbers as soon as they come out, plus our best story of the day, every day. Plus they’re totally free.

Watch: Covid numbers on day one of traffic light system to be announced

It’s the first day of the new traffic light framework but that doesn’t mean Covid’s gone away. In fact, it’s probably the opposite.

Today’s Covid-19 cases will be revealed by deputy PM Grant Robertson and public health director Caroline McElnay around 1pm. As always, we’ll have rolling coverage in the live updates feed or you can tune into the presser below.

Red setting offers few comforts for Aucklanders, says Luxon

National’s new leader is in Auckland today, visiting local businesses on the first day of the new traffic light city.

It’s been 107 days since most businesses could operate as normal, with vaccine passes now required to visit a number of venues.

But while Christopher Luxon said it’s good news that Auckland has moved out of lockdown, he has argued that the “red” setting offers few comforts.

“Auckland has done the heavy lifting for the country and endured over 100 days in lockdown, but their reward is just to go into a ‘red’ setting,” he said. “This is harsh news for bars and restaurants across Auckland who suffered 100 days of lockdown and who now will be unable to host large Christmas and New Years’ events.”

Luxon said the government needs to provide more evidence as to why Auckland is in red, despite the city being highly vaccinated and the health system coping with the pandemic. Earlier this week, Jacinda Ardern said as the epicentre of the delta outbreak it was important some restrictions stayed in place in Auckland over summer.

Christopher Luxon (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)