The Government's Budget has contained the single biggest spending package in New Zealand's history, as the country welcomes in alert level 2 with another day of no new coronavirus cases. Get all the important news and read the full stories in the links below.

Key developments in NZ

Shops have opened their doors - but many are not as busy as they might have hoped on the first morning of alert level 2. Video / Supplied

• New Zealand welcomed in alert level 2 this morning in style – here is what you can do and where you can go from today.

Mall carparks were busy once more as level 2 arrived. Photo / Dean Purcell.
Mall carparks were busy once more as level 2 arrived. Photo / Dean Purcell.

• The chances of coronavirus community transmission in New Zealand is now considered "very low" by health authorities, but members of the public are being warned not to start getting complacent and to keep in mind the virus may still be out there among communities. This comes as, for the third consecutive day, there are no new cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand.

Director-General of Health and chief executive Dr Ashley Bloomfield talks to Mike Hosking about NZ entering alert level 2. Video / Newstalk ZB

Listen live to Newstalk ZB's coronavirus coverage

Advertisement

• A bill giving police sweeping powers to potentially enter homes without warrants while enforcing Covid-19 rules has passed. Police Commissioner Andrew Coster says his frontline staff will use common sense and discretion when using what he described as the "remarkable" powers granted to police to enforce Covid-19 health rules.

• Amid calls for a national contact tracing app, experts have warned we shouldn't be placing all of our hopes on a smartphone solution when it comes to tracking down people potentially exposed to Covid-19.

The Budget

• The Government will spend a mammoth $50 billion on its Covid-19 recovery plan in a bid to save almost 140,000 jobs nationwide. It's the single biggest spending package in New Zealand's history. But to pay for the recovery, Government debt will more than double to $200 billion and there are deficits in the tens of billions of dollars for years to come – something National Party leader Simon Bridges labelled a "tsunami of debt". Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said there was nothing usual about Covid-19 and that meant an extraordinary response in its Budget.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Greens leader James Shaw and Finance Minister Grant Robertson walk to the House during Budget 2020 delivery day. Photo / Pool
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Greens leader James Shaw and Finance Minister Grant Robertson walk to the House during Budget 2020 delivery day. Photo / Pool

• The wage subsidy scheme has been extended by a further eight weeks as the Government looks to limit the economic damage caused by Covid-19. Up to a further $3.2 billion has been poured into the scheme, taking the total Government spending on the programme to almost $14 billion.

• The devastated tourism sector is set to get a $400 million targeted fund from the Budget, while a $1.6 billion package to boost apprenticeships and industry training has drawn praise from a leading trade training agency. Here is all you need to know about today's Budget.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson with copies of his Budget 2020 on Parliament's steps. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Finance Minister Grant Robertson with copies of his Budget 2020 on Parliament's steps. Photo / Mark Mitchell

In depth

Budget 2020: Best of Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters. Video / Parliament TV

• Explore Budget 2020 – and all its new spending - for yourself with our interactive data visualisation.

• Three rest home residents are dead, and seven nurses who looked after them at Waitakere Hospital have been infected with Covid-19. Kirsty Johnston reports on what went wrong.

Around the world

Air New Zealand has changed the way they do a few things to ensure safe travel at Alert Level 2. Video / Supplied

• The impact of coronavirus on overseas travel may be worse than expected, with an international airline boss predicting things won't be normal until 2023.

Advertisement

• Public transport has emerged as a concern for health officials as Governments lift restrictions and encourage people to return to work.

As restrictions are eased in the UK, public transport is flooded with people. Video / SKY News

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website

In sport

• Kiwi Sarai Bareman is attempting to navigate a path out of coronavirus for the world's biggest female sport, and is doing it from her dining room.

The last words

• The Herald experts have weighed in on today's Budget. Audrey Young says anyone expecting Grant Robertson to produce a detailed plan for economic recovery from the Covid crisis was simply setting him up for failure, Hamish Rutherford writes that the Budget contains a sea of red, to save New Zealand from even worse, while Liam Dann argues that Robertson nailed the Budget balancing act - but that might be the easy bit.