telethon-style Vaxathon is planned for 'Super Saturday' and the Delta outbreak grows by 43 new community cases and drives thousands on to the dole and winegrowers are looking to front a labour shortage.

The numbers

  • 43 new community cases, 40 in Auckland, three in Waikato
  • 24 epidemiologically linked; 19 yet to be linked
  • 34 people in hospital, five in ICU or HDU
  • No positive wastewater tests in any region
  • 16,565 tests were taken in the past 24 hours
  • 69,118 vaccine doses were administered; 1st doses: 15,107; 2nd doses: 54,011
  • 58% of eligible Kiwis are fully vaccinated; 82% have had one dose

Delta puts more people on the dole

Since the start of the Delta outbreak, 8500 more people have ended up on the benefit, Ministry of Social Development figures show.

While job losses have been nowhere near as severe as the first lockdown in March last year, many thousands of whanau are still struggling to make ends meet, as Covid-19 restrictions remain in place.

Infometrics principal economist Brad Olsen said before the first positive case was detected in August, the labour market was running hot.

But the return to lockdown has thrown a spanner in the works.

Most of the increase has been people going on to jobseeker support - half of them in Auckland.

A $20 increase to benefits, announced in May's budget, kicked in at the start of July. But Olsen said that increase will have been eaten up by inflation.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has signalled more support for families in hardship is being considered.

Northland case

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said the woman who travelled from Auckland to Northland on forged documentation and her travelling companion are both in MIQ in Auckland.

There are 18 close contacts associated with the original case and of these 17 have been contacted, tested, and are isolating. The remaining person is being "actively followed up by our contact tracers".

The second woman was taken into custody under section 70 of the Health Act by police after they located her in West Auckland last night.

Today it was announced that she is also positive.

Northland is in alert level 3 until at least Thursday because of the first woman's visit to the region.

Meanwhile, Whangarei's mayor Sheryl Mai fears Covid-19 may be spreading undetected.

She said that with so few locations of interest, she fears it has yet to be detected and it's vital people get tested.

A sign for testing in Kawakawa in Northland. Photo: RNZ / Nita Blake-Persen

Telethon-style vaccination drive taking shape

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is hoping 100,000 New Zealanders will take the chance to get vaccinated on Saturday - beating the previous record of just over 93,000.

Television personalities including Jesse Mulligan, Paddy Gower, Kanoa Lloyd and Mike McRoberts will be involved in the Super Saturday vaccination drive that will screen live on TV3 and Maori TV.

The TV format will be like telethons which were a popular form of entertainment in the 1970s and 80s. They raised money by encouraging people to pledge money for charity. This time round, TV hosts will instead be urging people to get vaccinated.

Ardern said it's "a chance to roll up our sleeves for New Zealand and help make us the most vaccinated and therefore protected countries in the world".

Currently 82 percent of eligible New Zealanders aged 12 and over have had their first dose of the vaccine, and 58 percent have had their second dose and are now fully vaccinated.

More information on the event is available on the government's Covid-19 website.

Jacinda Ardern is urging New Zealanders to get in behind the vaccination initiative planned for Saturday. Photo: 2021 Getty Images

Traveller arrives in Queenstown despite not being exempted

A man who breached alert level 3 by travelling from Whangarei to Queenstown without appropriate travel documents has tested negative for Covid-19.

The man flew from Whangarei to Wellington on a commercial flight on Saturday.

He stayed overnight at a hotel near Wellington Airport before flying to Queenstown on Sunday morning.

He is self isolating in Queenstown.

Queenstown Mayor Jim Boult said it was a wake-up call for locals, and a stark reminder for residents that they are far from immune to potential exposure.

He is urging them to get vaccinated.

Bid to attract workers to vineyards

Efforts to try and recruit New Zealanders to work on vineyards for the 2022 harvest are already ramping up as winemakers look to front a labour shortage.

The challenge of finding skilled staff has been intensified by the Covid-19 border restrictions, with fewer overseas workers in the country.

In Marlborough, New Zealand's winegrowing region, it's estimated about 1200 people are needed to harvest the 2022 vintage, which usually kicks into gear in early March.

Marisco Vineyards general manager Matt Mitchell said it had started looking for cellar hands, wine press operators, flotation technicians and forklift drivers more than four months in advance.

He said there would be a huge effort going into training people who were new to the industry this season.

In Marlborough, New Zealand's winegrowing region, it's estimated about 1200 people are needed to harvest the 2022 vintage. (file pic) Photo: 123RF

Wine Marlborough Marcus Pickens said some sector-wide attraction campaigns were being planned, but individual wine companies were also working harder than ever to fill the gap.