How the traffic light announcement will affect New Year’s Eve plans


This afternoon, New Zealanders will find out what their plans for New Years Eve 2021 will look like.

Ahead of Monday’s decisions – expected at a press conference at 4 p.m. after Cabinet in the Hive – the government made it clear that nowhere in the country would move to the “green” framework yet. This would last until the week starting January 17 at the earliest.

This means that we will be ringing in our third year of life in the pandemic at red or orange settings.

In the orange regions, music festivals, large-scale concerts and nightclubs are the order of the day for the vaccinated. While those of us left in the red will be sitting and separated, confined to a boogie chair, or relocating our plans to the backyard.

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The Auckland border will reopen on Wednesday, December 15 to allow Christmas and summer travel. But if you haven’t already booked flights, you won’t get any change on $ 200 to move your plans.

An Air New Zealand one-way ticket from Auckland on the 29th costs around $ 215 to Wanaka, $ 150 to Christchurch and $ 70 to Wellington.

Tickets for Rhythm and Alps at Wānaka, one of the only New Year’s festivals that we know will be held at this point, are in high demand on Facebook ticket resale groups, with punters saying they are ready to ” overpay ”for the almost sold-out.

At Breakfast Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was asked on Monday if there was any chance the Cabinet would decide to move Auckland to the Orange Frame.

“We want to be careful,” she said.

Based on the Cabinet’s cautious approach to date, it seems highly unlikely that Auckland will move from the red frame to orange.

The Gisborne Rhythm and Vines music festival has been postponed until Easter 2022.

Meg McCann / Supplied

The Gisborne Rhythm and Vines music festival has been postponed until Easter 2022.

And with Bay Dreams and Rhythm and Vines already slated for the 31st, Northern Bass is NYE’s biggest in-game festival.

Organizer Gareth Popham said Things the drum and bass festival, led by UK DJ Andy C and electronic music duo Chase & Status, was waiting until the last moment to cancel if necessary, or postpone until 2022. UK DJs got MIQ spots in Auckland where they must spend two weeks in isolation before the New Year’s concert.

“We have sold 11,500 tickets and currently have 10,000 children on a waiting list who want tickets,” he said.

However, the Northern Bass site in Mangawhai is an hour north of Auckland and is in the Northland District Health Board area, which currently has 80% of its population doubly vaccinated and 87% partially vaccinated.

The Northern Bass Music Festival sold 11,500 tickets for its 2021-22 event.

Jamie Lees / Supplied

The Northern Bass Music Festival sold 11,500 tickets for its 2021-22 event.

Under “red”, sites using the vaccination passport system cannot accommodate gatherings of more than 100 people. Social distancing of 1m is also required during outdoor events.

In an effort to discourage large numbers from congregating on the city streets and along the waterfront, Auckland’s Sky City has already unplugged the fireworks from the top of the Sky Tower.

However, at “orange” there is no limit to the number if they use vaccine passes.

Hidden Valley festival organizer Reuben River-Smith, who anticipates the New Years on December 27, said he “felt very optimistic” ahead of today’s announcement.

“A small part of me is quite nervous, but I think all the signs are pointing orange for Auckland,” he said.

Hidden Valley is headlining international artists Wilkinson, Dom Dolla and Kanine, and has no postponement date yet. The nearly sold out festival draws 7,000 Aucklanders to Matakana Country Park for a day, which contributes $ 4 million to the local economy.

“I went there this morning to speak to local hospo owners in Snells Beach, Warkworth, Leigh and Omaha. They say, “My fingers are crossed, this is moving forward because we need it,” River-Smith said.

Likewise, the organizer of the AUM New Year’s art, music and camping festival says he feels great until today.

Two-thirds of tickets for the AUM New Year's Eve festival at South Head have sold out.

Rob Warner / Supplied

Two-thirds of tickets for the AUM New Year’s Eve festival at South Head have sold out.

“Last night I realized the weight of today’s decision and the implications anyway,” John Paul Moss said.

AUM is held in South Head, Auckland and has the Auckland Anniversary Weekend planned as an alternate date. Paul Moss said two-thirds of their tickets are sold out and they are flexible to accommodate whatever decision they make.

“But I could really take a break huh, so hopefully we switch to orange.”

AUM organizer John Paul Moss said he was nervously awaiting the government's decision on the traffic lights.

Rob Warner / Supplied

AUM organizer John Paul Moss said he was nervously awaiting the government’s decision on the traffic lights.

Back in Auckland CBD, the Britomart Block Party organizer said the concert at three Galway Street venues would not take place at a red light.

“At red, we had to cancel and refund. It’s not the kind of show we can do with 100 people seated, ”said Thomas Bowey.

Reserving a restaurant or bar table for the 31st is a good idea if you feel like going out.

“But let’s be honest, a private reception of 100 people will probably be a little more lively than 100 random people sitting in a bar at tables of 10 people,” Bowey said.

Auckland and several other parts of the North Island with lower vaccination rates will also find out if they remain red today. These are the districts of Taupō, Rotorua Lakes, Whakatāne, Kawerau, Ōpōtiki, Wairoa, Rangitikei, Whanganui and Ruapehu.

However, canceled concerts won’t necessarily mean Aucklanders will keep their booked getaways in small seaside towns.

One of the biggest suppliers of Rhythm and Vines and the festival industry has warned the postponement will not prevent Aucklanders from traveling to the Gisborne area.

Jacinda Ardern will give the final Covid settings for the year ahead of the Christmas holiday period today.


Jacinda Ardern will give the final Covid settings for the year ahead of the Christmas holiday period today.

Andrew Mowbray, managing director of Awop, which provides cashless payment systems to events, predicts that thousands of ticket holders will intend to keep their vacation plans going even with the postponement of Rhythm and Vines.

“The point is, thousands of Aucklanders will be heading to Gisborne during this time anyway,” Mowbray said.


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