The Coalition Cabinet has decided to keep Auckland at Alert Level 2.5 and to keep the rest of the country at Alert Level 2, thanks to the continued trickle of new Covid-19 cases.
That comes despite only one new community case being reported today.
But the rest of the country is to move to level 1 at 11.59pm next Monday, September 21.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the Cabinet would also next Monday look at increasing gathering limits in Auckland if it is safe, which would come into effect on September 23.
The prime minister said the government was not rushing to return to Level 1 and was monitoring the number of cases.
She said modelling had shown there was still a 25% chance that cases could move outside Auckland
Physical distancing eased
It only required one person travelling and attending a super-spreader event in another part of the country to spark a surge in cases.
While mask use remains compulsory, physical distancing requirements on planes and public transport will be eased. From today, airlines, buses and train operators do not need to use any seating restrictions.
Ardern argued that economic activity had bounced back after the move in Auckland to level 2.5, showing people had adapted well.
"Our plan is working, but it needs just a little bit more time."
She said keeping people safe from the virus was still New Zealand's strategy.
Ardern made the announcement in Dunedin, where the Labour leader is campaigning today, following a teleconference meeting with Cabinet ministers this morning.
Today there was one new case, according to the Health Ministry.
The case is connected to the Botany group, the first case in the group for two weeks.
It is a girl who has been in isolation since August 30 due to being a close contact of a confirmed case.
The ministry said yesterday’s Jet Park case has been genomically linked to three cases at the quarantine facility who are linked to the Auckland cluster.
The worker has five household contacts, and all have returned a negative test result.
Nine staff at the Jet Park who are close contacts have all returned a negative result.
All workers at the Jet Park are now being re-tested, and prevention measures including the use of personal protective equipment are being reviewed.
The wider Auckland cluster now has 177 cases, including 55 active cases.