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After seven long, lockdown weekends, this weekend we can do, pretty much, what we like.

We can take the boat out. We can watch our home region disappear in the rear view mirror. We can order smashed avo at brunch with our besties.

If the fluoro lights call, we can even brave the mall.


We can't socialise in groups larger than 10, and still need to keep our distance from those not in our bubble. But Kiwis today welcome their first weekend at alert level 2, after seven weeks under the more restrictive levels 3 and 4 to stop the spread of Covid-19.

It's going to be a nice day for it.

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A stalled high's bad news for rain-deprived Auckland, where stretched water supplies sparked strict restrictions, but is great news for those itching to bust out beyond the four walls of home and enjoy favourite outdoor spots.

Our biggest city can expect cloudy periods, but mild highs of 19C, today and tomorrow.

It's much the same elsewhere, with dry weather and temperatures in the teens expected almost everywhere. Only some eastern areas of the North Island and, briefly today, Coromandel and eastern Northland, would catch showers.

Breakfast out with family is Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's plan for her first level 2 weekend. Photo / Getty Images
Breakfast out with family is Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's plan for her first level 2 weekend. Photo / Getty Images

That's good news for the country's leaders - Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is planning a breakfast out with family, while National Party leader Simon Bridges would visit his parents and the barber on his first level 2 weekend. New Zealand First leader Winston Peters is heading home to Whananaki to catch up on work.

The temptation to get out and enjoy level 2 freedoms has prompted a string of warnings from authorities.

Testing identified one new case of Covid-19 yesterday, after three consecutive days of zero new cases.


The case was linked to the Marist College cluster and from a person now not considered infectious, director general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said.

But it reinforced Covid-19's "long tail" and the need to stay vigilant, including with handwashing, physical distancing and staying home when sick, Bloomfield said.

"We need to keep consistently doing the things which will help keep all New Zealanders safe."

The first day of level 2 started quietly, with just three breaches - all resulting in a warning - in the first 18 hours, police said.

An "education-led approach to enforcement" would continue this weekend.

During level 3 police took enforcement action against 1231people in relation to breaches of either the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act or the Health Act. Just under 300 were eventually prosecuted, with the remainder warned or referred to Youth Aid.

Motorists have also been urged to take care this weekend, and on Monday when kids returned to school.

A spike in accommodation bookings this week laid bare the desire of many to get away - a move which brought smiles to the battered hospitality industry.

Hospitality New Zealand has already this week welcomed Lion's Cheers to Your Local social media campaign, which encourages Kiwis to publicly share their support for their favourite venues.

Getting out required care, with many not behind the wheel for weeks, national road policing manager, acting superintendent Gini Welch said.

"We may be feeling a bit rusty behind the wheel or overwhelmed by the amount of cars back on the road again."

Traffic volumes were already increasing on the first day of level 2, with Auckland traffic at 60 per cent when compared with last year, but up 28 per cent on the previous week.

Wellington and Christchurch - at 55 per cent and 65 per cent volume compared with last year - saw an increase of 40 per cent and 52 per cent on the previous week, according to NZ Transport Agency monitoring.

Motorists be warned also - paid parking is back throughout Auckland for both on and off-street parking.

That also went for bus lanes, T2/T3 lanes and clearways, Auckland Transport group manager of parking services and compliance John Strawbridge said.

"Please comply with the restrictions. We don't want to issue you infringements, we want to keep the city moving."

And boaties should check their vessels for pests, both above and below the water, before heading out, Auckland Council said in reference to biosecurity risks.

Water Safety New Zealand also had a message for boaties, along with fishers and divers.

"We need everyone to take the necessary precautions so our frontline rescue services do not get overrun," chief executive Jonty Mills said.

Gear, engine and weather forecast checks, lifejackets for all on board and two waterproof ways to call for help are needed.

Rock fishers should wear lifejackets, assess conditions and avoid unnecessary risks.

"Sadly we had our first drowning of lockdown this week. Our waters are cold and especially so as we head into winter. If there is even a remote possibility you could end up in the water ensure you know water survival skills, wear a lifejacket as well as clothing that gives you thermal protection." The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website