March 23, 2022 | By Bronwen Largier

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced changes to the nation’s COVID-19 Protection Framework, which currently restricts all types of events to just 100 double-vaccinated attendees.

From 11.59pm – New Zealand time – this Friday, the indoor gathering limit for the red setting, at which the whole country currently sits, will be lifted to 200 attendees, all gathering limits for outdoor events will be removed and masks will no longer be required at outdoor events.

From April 4, double-dose vaccination will no longer be required to attend events or hospitality settings.

While the whole of New Zealand is currently subject to the most restrictive setting in the COVID-19 Protection Framework, the level will be reviewed again on April 4.

“This positive news from the Prime Minister will start to bring back vital confidence and clarity for event decision-makers,” said Business Events Industry Aotearoa (BEIA) chief executive Lisa Hopkins.

“We look forward to the next review of the COVID Protection Framework settings on 4 April.

“Our sector hasn’t been able to work effectively since…traffic light settings of the COVID Protection Framework were set at Red and gathering numbers restricted to 100. Confidence has been at an all-time low.”

At the Asia Pacific Incentives and Meetings Event (AIME) in Melbourne, Hopkins said up to 100 multi-day international conferences were waiting to confirm bookings in New Zealand.

“We are seeing a lot of interest and excitement here today. Event organisers in Australia are telling us they want to bring their client business back to New Zealand. The positive messages from the Prime Minister today will now drive a sense of surety as we work towards fewer restrictions,” she said.