Whanganui mayor Hamish McDouall says the city should be in the orange setting of the traffic light framework, in line with advice provided to the government by the Ministry of Health.
The Whanganui, Ruapehu and Rangitīkei Districts are currently all in the red setting of the system, with restrictions in place similar to that of level 2 for the vaccinated and level 3 for the unvaccinated.
But advice from director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield to Cabinet before the move to the new system said the three districts should be in the orange level, the NZ Herald reported on Wednesday.
That revelation has led to Whanganui mayor Hamish McDouall saying the government should have followed the original Ministry advice.
"While I understand the government's decision to put us into red, I disagree with it when you base it on health statistics," McDouall said.
"They've taken a cautious approach, and while that's given me some comfort with this latest case, restrictions on the community have been fairly brutal, particularly at the end of the year with school concerts and lots of community togetherness taken from us."
McDouall pointed to inconsistency in the current approach, such as the Whanganui region in red having just one active case deemed 'low-risk', while the Bay of Plenty with 51 active cases can remain in orange.
Rangitīkei mayor Andy Watson said his district should also be in orange, but accepts the Government's decision and encouraged residents to do their bit to change it.
"We are caught up in the Whanganui DHB area as such, so that's part of the reason [we are in red]. In saying that, we do have pockets of low vaccination rates, and while I don't like it, it is what it is," Watson said.
"My main point is that we can either be grumpy about this, or we can see the way out of this and go and get vaccinated and get the jab. The destiny is in our own hands to some extent."
Meanwhile, Whanganui MP Steph Lewis has defended the government's decision to keep the region in red, saying the new framework required some degree of caution.
"The cabinet had made a decision that had been signalled quite early on that moving into the framework was going to be looked at on a DHB-by-DHB basis," Lewis said.
"In Whanganui, it's taken us a bit longer than other DHBs to get to 90 per cent. As the Prime Minister has repeatedly said, with this initial move into the new framework, we were going to be taking a very cautious approach."
But the decision to put Whanganui in red wasn't permanent, and Lewis said a transition into a lower setting can be achieved by boosting vaccination rates.
"We can get our vaccination rates up, and I encourage absolutely everyone who hasn't yet been vaccinated to come forward and do your bit," Lewis said.
The next review of traffic light settings will be undertaken by Cabinet on Monday.