National Party leader Christopher Luxon says he hopes a revamp of the Covid-19 orange setting expected this week delivered simple and clear rules for mask use, but has questioned the need to keep the traffic-light system in place.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has ruled out any imminent move to the red setting, but signalled a Government announcement on changes to the current orange light settings could be coming soon, saying the Covid-19 ministers met this morning.
Last week Covid-19 Minister Ayesha Verrall also said the Government was reviewing the orange light rules. She was unwell on Monday, tweeting that while she had not tested positive in a rapid antigen test she had symptoms and would isolate and keep testing.
The rise in illnesses has put strain on hospitals and many other workplaces as sick people and their household contacts stay at home for the isolation period.
Luxon said decisions on whether masks should be worn in more places should be based on health advice, but the Government should also be considering test-to-work rules.
"A very simple thing to do is clear masking rules and clear isolation rules but what I'd also like to see if you can test to work so if you're a household contact you could do a test, and be okay to go to work if you're asymptomatic. That would help workplace planning more, and put more workers into the workforce."
He said the construct of the traffic light system was unnecessarily complicating things, and should be dropped. Instead, there should be a clear, sensible rules on what people were required to do at this point of the outbreak.
"The traffic-light system is way too complex and complicated and I don't think many people have been paying too much attention to it at all. The Government has already said we're not going back to red."
Ardern said on RNZ on Monday morning that masks, boosters and isolation periods were the three most effective means of trying to slow spread and urged people to adhere to the guidelines already in place.
At orange, masks are required on any form of public transport, in public venues such as museums and libraries, in health care settings and vet clinics, as well as in public sector buildings such as police offices and local government.
However, they are not required inside other crowded places such as schools, theatres, or pubs and clubs.
Verrall recently announced masks would be distributed to school children and teachers.