The number of people concerned about catching Covid-19 has plummeted and more than half of all New Zealanders think the worst of the pandemic has passed, new research shows.
This comes as the trend of low case number continues – just three new cases were announced yesterday.
For the fourth day in a row, there were no Covid-19 related deaths in New Zealand and the number of significant clusters being actively investigated has fallen.
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There are 16 significant clusters across the country, but yesterday the Ministry of Health said the Wellington wedding cluster, had expired – meaning it had been 28 days since the last Covid-19 case was confirmed.
The ministry is expected to close another two clusters today – one based in Auckland and one in Wellington, both of which had travelled to the US - bringing the number of clusters being actively investigated to 13.
Public health director Dr Caroline McElnay told media yesterday this was "very encouraging" and said more clusters were expected to close over the coming days.
Finance Minister Grant Robertson was optimistic too but, like Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, he warned people not to squander the gains New Zealand had made.
For example, he told media there has been an increase in reports of people having house parties.
"Don't be an idiot; stick to your bubble and everyone will be better off."
Leaked UMR polling numbers, obtained by the Herald, reveal the number of New Zealanders concerned that either they, or their family, would catch Covid-19 was down from 64 per cent to 43 per cent.
It also shows that 51 per cent of New Zealanders think the worst of Covid-19 has passed.
The poll was taken between April 21 and 27 – while New Zealand was in level 4 lockdown.
The numbers also reveal that New Zealanders think highly of supermarket workers during the lockdown – 83 per cent of respondents say they performed well.
This comes as the Government looks to provide more relief to businesses hard hit by Covid-19.
Yesterday, Robertson officially announced that businesses with fewer than 50 staff will be able to borrow up to $100,000 from the Government to help them get through Covid-19.
That loan will be interest-free if it's paid back within a year.
The scheme will provide $10,000 to every participating firm plus $1800 per equivalent full-time employee.
But the Government has copped flak for how the legislation was rolled out.
The loan scheme was included in a bill that passed into law on Thursday night, but had not been publicly announced.
Act supported the bill, but was critical of its rollout, saying the error raises questions about the Government's competence.
Robertson said the error was the fault of the Parliamentary Counsel, which has since apologised.
Meanwhile, he is fending off accusations from National Leader Simon Bridges that the leaked UMR poll came from Labour.
The poll showed National on just 29 per cent and Labour on 55 per cent.
On those numbers, Labour could form a Government by itself.
Bridges rubbished the poll.
"UMR are Labour's pollsters and are consistently, badly wrong."
He added that Labour "should be focused on getting New Zealand back to work, not leaking dodgy numbers".
But Robertson said that he was "very confident" the leak had nothing to do with the Labour Party.
The UMR poll also showed that 78 per cent of New Zealanders believe the country is heading in the right direction.
The number of people saying New Zealand is on the right track hasn't been this high on a UMR poll since 1991.
"This can again only be attributed to a rallying around in a national crisis and a related current confidence in the government steps taken to combat Covid-19," UMR said.
However, UMR warned that the political numbers should be taken with a grain of salt.
"They [the poll numbers] need to be interpreted extremely carefully. The conventional wisdom is that natural disasters (and wars) are usually good for governments but that those effects can wear off quickly."