Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will likely not go to New York for the United Nations General Assembly, as previously hoped.
Ardern's team had tentatively pencilled in an appearance at the event, particularly its leaders week, which is held in the later half of September.
The plans were high level and never finalised and never announced. While the trip has not yet been officially greenlit or officially scrapped, the Herald understands it is almost certainly not going ahead under the current circumstances.
Worsening outbreaks overseas meant fewer world leaders had planned to attend the UN anyway, making the visit less valuable.
It is also the case that the latest Covid outbreak in New Zealand has made leaving the country politically untenable.
The UN visit would have been Ardern's first overseas trip since the pandemic. She would have had to go through MIQ on her return.
A planned trip to Australia was scuppered after the Covid outbreak across the Tasman worsened.
Trade Minister Damien O'Connor travelled to the UK and Europe earlier this year to further trade negotiations.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison travelled to Europe earlier this year, having to quarantine on his return.
The Prime Minister featured regularly at the UN in the past, travelling to New York for leaders week twice before the pandemic struck.
The Government is keen to progress plans with reopening New Zealand to the world, announced the week before the most recent Covid outbreak.
Those plans included a pilot scheme which would allow a small number of business travellers to skip MIQ and isolate at home, but only if they had travelled from low risk countries.
The most recent outbreak continues to escalate with 82 new cases recorded on Saturday, all in Auckland.
The country south of Auckland will move out of alert level 4 settings next week, while Auckland northwards will remain in alert level 4.
Ardern said on Friday that Auckland will likely stay in alert level 4 for a further two weeks, based on the number of cases currently.