The South Island will not move from alert level 2 down to alert level 1 today, Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson says.
It comes after two fresh community cases were detected outside Auckland – a person in Hamilton in their 40s and another in Raglan in their 50s.
Robertson told Mike Yardley on NewstalkZB that the South Island was not able to go to alert level 1 today because there needed to be public health measures in place.
Level 2 gave the population an extra layer of protection should there be any new community cases, he said.
"We've seen from the cases we have now in the Waikato and the person who went to Palmerston North, we need to have some public health measures in place to limit the spread.
"We don't know how long the virus has been in the community, we'll find that out in the next few days but being at level 2 means we limit, for example, super spreader events," he said.
When pressed on what this means for the upcoming cup and show week, Robertson said government officials had been in touch with organisers.
"We know how important it is and if we can get there, we will.
"They will want to go to level 1 just as I want them to be able to go to level 1 but we have to continue to adopt the kind of careful and planned approach that we have because that has allowed us to be able to live much of the last year at level 1," he said.
"I know it's frustrating for people but one thing to remember, the reason the South Island does not have any cases and hasn't had any cases for some considerable time is because of the kind of approach we've taken."
Last week it was revealed Covid-19 restrictions could mean Addington Cup Week, Canterbury's biggest racing week of the year, will be closed to general admission for the first time in 117 years.
The Canterbury A & P Show will be going ahead but public numbers could be significantly reduced unless the region moved down to level 1 restrictions.
Racing industry manager at Addington Raceway, Darrin Williams said it is frustrating the South Island is still not in level 1.
"Personally, it seems a bit strange that we're still not in level 1 in the South Island considering we have no Covid.
"As long as the borders are protected and we aren't moving, it shouldn't be a problem nut Government officials know more about that than me," he said
Williams said there is still some breathing room before they must make a decision on October 19.
"It is frustrating but we still have some space before our deadline date."
There are discussions with Racing NZ and Government officials around the importance of cup meeting, he said.
"The minister really understands what happens here during that week."