The Government could dispense with the traffic light system altogether when it reviews its Covid settings in the next "couple of weeks".
At least one ministry is already consulting on ditching mask mandates in most settings - the Otago Daily Times reported this morning the Ministry of Disabled People had been consulting on dropping mandates for masks.
New Zealand moved to the traffic light system on December 2 last year, since then, New Zealand has hovered between the red and orange traffic light settings - New Zealand is currently at orange and has been since April.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has hinted during the past few weeks the system might be replaced. Asked on Friday about changes she again seemed to suggest it might be dropped.
"We've been living with the traffic light system for upwards to a year now - now is the time for us to look at whether all those settings are fit for purpose. We include masks in that," Ardern said.
Asked about reviewing the traffic light settings - Ardern pivoted to discuss reviewing the system more generally.
"We are reviewing our Covid rules. We have a regular process of looking at what our current case numbers are," Ardern said.
She said the Government was not just looking at a review of the traffic light system but at "broader settings more generally".
The change appears to have been in the works for some time.
In August, Ardern said that at the time "isolation of cases still matters enormously and that's why orange remains important".
However, she hinted a change to the traffic light system was on the cards for the future.
"In the future, though, we've also said that we'll continue to look at whether or not the traffic light system still continues to provide the framework we need.
"The time and place to do that will be as we come out of winter," she said.
Ardern said on Friday that no decisions had been made and final advice was still to be delivered.
Covid-19 Response Minister Ayesha Verrall was asked on Thursday whether the Government would be getting rid of the traffic light system at the next review of Covid settings.
Verrall responded by saying the Government was "looking at all of [its] settings in that review and it is still under consideration so I don't have any more to say".
When asked whether getting rid of the traffic light system was itself up for discussion, Verrall said: "We're looking at all of the elements - yip."
National's Covid-19 spokesman Chris Bishop said his party wanted to see the system gone.
"We would like to scrap the traffic light system altogether - we've said that for a long time now," Bishop said.
"It had some vague logic to it but we haven't stuck to the logic for a long time now," Bishop said, noting that New Zealand did not appear to be going up and down the traffic light settings in line with risk.
Act leader David Seymour said that "it was no longer clear that the remaining interventions, the mask-wearing, the remaining vaccine mandates, are passing a cost-benefit analysis".
"What we should do is dump the remaining restrictions," Seymour said.
Seymour said that individual institutions like aged care would make their own decisions about what rules to implement.
"I'm not sure what our isolation rules are adding beyond what we would achieve by people using common sense and staying home when they are ill," Seymour said.