'Nothing's changed': Ardern backtracks on November 29 Freedom Day

The AM Show 15/11/2021

WATCH: Jacinda Ardern joined The AM Show this morning to say that the floating November 29th 'Freedom Day' is not guaranteed after mixed messaging.

Last week it seemed that Kiwis could somewhat count on a date - November 29th. Dubbed NZ's 'Freedom Day' there was strong suggestion from the government and Jacinda Ardern herself that it would be very likely that Auckland would be moving into the traffic light system after the Nov 29th cabinet meeting.

Today, the Prime Minister has cooled off any firm commitments to the date, saying that it always has and will depend on the 90% double vaccination rate of all 3 DHBs in Auckland, and that their confidence comes from a current 90% plus rate of first jabs in the region.

"I can also tell you that based on current projections, Auckland is on track to make 90 percent double-vaccinated this month. Cabinet has a check-in on November 29 and based on Cabinet's discussion today, there is a strong expectation that Auckland will move into the COVID-19 Protection Framework following this November 29 check-in," Ardern said at a press conference last Monday.

Today, Ardern corrected the public opinion that November 29 could be counted on as a 'Freedom Day'

"On November 29, that's when Cabinet meets to make decisions around when Auckland will move into the [traffic light] framework," Ardern told The AM Show on Monday. "We gave a very strong signal that, at that meeting, we will be making decisions to flip Auckland into the new framework soon after.

"Nothing's changed."

Decisions will be made on November 29, and a freedom day could come not too long after.

"We make the decision on the 29th, we announce that decision on the 29th and then there'll be a date that we then flip in," said Ardern.

"As I've said, very soon after [November 29]. Nothing's changed here, essentially."

Ardern stands by her statements that Aucklanders and the rest of NZ will see more freedoms come Christmas.

"Obviously, retail opened last week," she said. "This week, schools go back. In Auckland, I hope you're seeing the signs of those restrictions easing but, of course, the most significant change of all is when we move to that COVID Protection Framework because that's when everything opens up again.

"When we start using those vaccine certificates… it will give that certainty to businesses that they're back open and able to operate." 

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