Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has confirmed Aucklanders will be able to "travel through summer" and be reunited with families over Christmas.
However, exactly how that will happen and when, including if vaccinations will be required remains unclear.
It comes after a week of mixed messages over the logistical challenge faced with moving roughly 40,000 Aucklanders across a border, and into areas with lower vaccination rates, at the busiest time of the year.
Speaking to Q+A's Jack Tame, Ardern said it was "admittedly a tricky transition period".
"The thing that we've been absolutely clear around is that we will have Aucklanders able to travel through summer and they will be able to reunite with family for Christmas."
What would make the process more simple would be if each district health board reached the 90 per cent full vaccination, and the Covid protection framework, or traffic light system, would be implemented where hard borders were not required.
"We're working it through. But we are committed to people being reunited over this summer period," Ardern told Q+A.
Asked why it had taken so long to implement vaccination certificates that could be required in such a scenario, Ardern said it was only going to be rolled out when vaccination levels were high enough.
The system being designed was "a little more sophisticated than what some other countries have", she said.
It was being trialled digitally next week and in place next month, but could be brought in later this month if vaccination rates were high enough.
Tame also pushed the Prime Minister on Auckland's move to level 3, a point at which case numbers in Auckland started to rise dramatically.
Ardern said that decision was based primarily on public health advice received from not just Government officials but the team on the ground in Auckland.
There was a very strong view that any change and restrictions in Auckland may not necessarily materially affect the area "in which we were already seeing that outbreak occur".
Covid had previously been eliminated at level 3 before, but Delta was a different situation, she said.
They also had to balance public compliance.
Ardern said though looking at where other countries were at, including the outbreaks in New South Wales and Queensland, New Zealand had fared comparatively better.
Ardern was also pushed on how the response had been for Māori, who now make up close to 40 per cent of all cases - a tripling since the move to level 3.
That move also came when the Māori vaccination rate was much lower than the overall rate - a disparity that persists.
Asked if the same alert level decision would have been made if those vaccination levels were across the board, Ardern said level 3 remained highly restrictive and they had kept it in place to allow vaccination levels to rise.
"I absolutely reject it. We have moved to level 3 cautiously for the precise reason that you've raised to do everything we can to protect people and we continue to do so," Ardern told Q+A.
"Our hospitalisations have been lower. Our death rate has been lower, and we've still managed to protect people's livelihoods. But we now have a tool available to us that I will do everything I can to make sure people take up and that is the vaccine."
Asked why fully vaccinated travellers who returned negative tests still needed to do MIQ while positive cases in Auckland were self-isolating at home, Ardern said those returning still posed a level of risk that could be managed.
"A vaccine doesn't stop you from necessarily being Covid-positive, it reduces it but not completely.
"All of the modelling that has been done for us is we've transitioned into our new working on our new system is that without any controls at the border, you will see further outbreaks that will lead to greater hospitalisations and greater deaths.
"So you do need to have border controls still, unless you want to be overrun."
Ardern said MIQ stays had recently been shortened to a week to reflect the current situation, and in the new year they were looking at people being able to self-isolate at home.