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The Government's backtrack on how many people can attend funerals and tangi from today is being welcomed, but National leader Simon Bridges says it doesn't go far enough.

The new limit has been increased from 10 people to 50, but Bridges said a 100-person limit would make it consistent with the limit on all indoor and outdoor gatherings at alert level 2.

New Zealanders wake up today with their bubbles popped and the dawning of the new safer normal, which includes the reopening of shops, cafes, hairdressers and public parks.

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There were no new cases of Covid-19 yesterday for the second straight day and the fourth time this month.

With most of the 1497 confirmed and probable cases now recovered, there are only 74 active cases, including two people in hospital.

National Party leader Simon Bridges says the funeral limit should be 100 people, and that should also apply to church services. Photo / Mark Mitchell
National Party leader Simon Bridges says the funeral limit should be 100 people, and that should also apply to church services. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Director general of health Ashley Bloomfield said New Zealand remained on track for elimination but, with an ongoing risk of a second wave, he urged people to remain vigilant on physical distancing, hand hygiene, and staying home if sick.

"This is a stubborn virus and we don't want to be going down the path where we see spikes again."

Meanwhile the Waitematā District Health Board has apologised to its staff - seven now have the virus - who were caring for patients from St Margaret's rest home.

A review found that Waitakere Hospital nurses dealing with Covid-19 patients were forced to change their personal protective equipment up to eight times a shift, one of a suite of issues that may have led to staff catching the virus.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the change in the limit on people who can attend a funeral is the sign of an agile Government in extraordinary times. Photo / Getty Images
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the change in the limit on people who can attend a funeral is the sign of an agile Government in extraordinary times. Photo / Getty Images

Today the Government will deliver a Budget that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said will focus on jobs in a Covid-hit world that will see unemployment rise, businesses fall over and the Government's books swamped in debt.

It follows the political drama of yesterday, when political consensus was shattered after Opposition parties voted against Covid legislation for the first time.

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The National Party described the Covid 19 Public Health Response Bill as executive overreach, and backed up criticism from The Human Rights Commission that the rushed process was "a great failure of our democratic process".

The Opposition also criticised the warrantless searches of private property if there was a reasonable belief that the alert level rules were being broken.

Ardern described the bill, which passed under urgency, as providing more accountability, and it was needed to enable the enforcement of physical distancing and social gathering limits.

She and other Ministers spent yesterday morning in virtual meetings with church leaders, iwi and funeral directors to discuss level 2 funeral arrangements, and later Health Minister David Clark announced the change.

Funeral directors can register funerals with the Ministry of Health and declare that health requirements will be met, including physical distancing, hand hygiene and a ban on food and drink congregations afterwards.

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Clark refused to say that the Government had got it wrong, but Bridges slammed the Prime Minister for "chopping and changing".

"We've gone from 100 to 10 to 50. That indicates a lack of a proper basis, or a robust one, for the decision-making."

He said that Ardern had created an expectation that 100-person funerals would be allowed when she outlined what level 2 life would look like a week ago.

She said at the time that aspects of level 2 could be phased in, but she didn't give any indication that the upper limit for gatherings could be anything other than 100.

Bridges said the 50-person limit was an improvement but still inconsistent.

"You can go to a movie theatre with 99 other people present, and there'll be no questions asked. Why on earth is there a difference between a funeral, a tangi and a movie?"

He said it was still wrong to prevent more than 10 people to gather at a church, which he said was a controlled environment where more people could safely be inside.

Cabinet will review the guidance in two weeks.

Meanwhile, Auckland Council is reopening the city's 885 playgrounds today, along with other facilities in local parks such as exercise equipment, basketball courts, skate parks and pump tracks.

"Our playgrounds are much-loved by Aucklanders and it's great to see them reopening in level 2," Mayor Phil Goff said.