At long last, events, functions and music festivals can resume from tomorrow and level 1 life begins - and two huge events have been given the green light to go ahead.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today announced the shift to level 1 from midnight tonight, just hours after it was announced there were no active cases of Covid-19 in the country.

Ardern said it was especially good news for the hospitality and transport sectors.

"Now we'll safely be able to fill those planes, fill those buses - and cafes will be able to get a few more tables in as well," she said.

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Good Vibes 2020, featuring Kiwi artists including L.A.B, Kora, Katchafire, Sons of Zion and Stan Walker is set to go ahead next month.

The festival will hit the road on July 17, playing in Gisborne, Rotorua, Porirua, Taradale, Hamilton, Tauranga, Auckland and Whangārei.

Kora will headline in Auckland, Hamilton and Porirua, with L.A.B to headline all other venues.

Other must-see acts on the bill include local legends Ardijah, Che Fu, Three Houses Down with up-and-coming sensations General Fiyah, Victor J Sefo, and Lomez Brown.

Katchafire is one of the many local legends taking the stage on the Good Vibes tour. Photo / File
Katchafire is one of the many local legends taking the stage on the Good Vibes tour. Photo / File

And festivalgoers can pencil February 2021 in to their diaries as the return of Splore Festival.

Organisers confirmed that the festival would take place at its home of Tapapakanga Regional Park next February 26-28.

Splore Festival Director John Minty said he was thrilled with Aotearoa's response to the virus.

"Being Covid-19 free is the determining factor for our festival to go ahead and it has happened much faster than we anticipated," he said.


"Splore is a microcosm within the larger event industry. High production values for the three-day festival plays a significant role in supporting the event industry economy.

"There are so many small businesses that make up the fabric of Splore and I am really happy to engage our loyal crew and also support all our suppliers, sponsors, performers, artists, food and craft vendors."

Local artists are expected to take the stage, as the uncertainty around the pandemic makes it impossible to book international artists, Minty said.

"The Splore community will support the festival with a local focus because not only do we have a wealth of music and performance talent to draw on but the entire experience of Splore creates the magic," he said.

Splore organizers confirmed the festival will go ahead next February. Photo / File
Splore organizers confirmed the festival will go ahead next February. Photo / File

"Splore is irresistible for our core fans who return year after year for the unique experience".

The line-up will be announced over the following months, but Splore fans can snag early-bird pre-sale tickets on June 12 with general release tickets available from June 15.


Tourism Industry Aotearoa (TIA)'s chief executive Chris Roberts has welcomed the loosening of restrictions, but says Government support should focus on businesses still feeling the brunt of Covid-19.

"With most domestic business activity possible, the move to level 1 will be a great relief to many," he said.

"But for tourism businesses, a return to normal is still a long way off. Many tourism operators and their staff will need ongoing and well-targeted support while the border restrictions remain in place."

With our borders likely to remain firmly closed to many parts of the world until next year, Roberts said it could take three to five years to reach pre-Covid levels of international tourism.

The sector is awaiting updates on the much anticipated trans-Tasman bubble, with Australia being New Zealand's largest market for international visitors, he said.

New Zealand will move to alert level 1 - and a return to mostly normal lives - from midnight tonight. The announcement comes just two hours after health officials confirmed that the country now has no active Covid-19 cases.

But for affected communities, the fallout from the virus is "immense", particularly in smaller towns reliant on tourism.

"Estimated tourism spend in April was down 90 per cent at $240 million, compared with $2.5 billion in April 2019.


"With a drop of well over $2 billion, this is the equivalent of having lost in one month the annual value of the kiwifruit or the seafood industry."

Roberts called on the Government to further extend the wage subsidy.

"The road to recovery is going to be a long one. Tourism, along with other sectors of the economy impacted by the closed border, is going to need ongoing Government assistance."

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