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Rest of New Zealand won’t move to Level 1 until threat of Christmas in the Park has passed

Christmas in the Park is a seasonal affliction, but can be particularly tricky to wipe out due to its unpredictable timing, usually occurring at a completely different time to Christmas.

Christmas in the Park is a seasonal affliction, but can be particularly tricky to wipe out due to its unpredictable timing, usually occurring at a completely different time to Christmas.

While Auckland prepares to move to Alert Level 3 on Wednesday, New Zealanders in the fun part of the country have been wondering when they might see a drop down to Level 1, given the persistent lack of Covid cases since the outbreak.

But the Government isn’t currently considering any such plans, and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern poured cold water on the idea at today’s post-Cabinet press conference, reiterating that Level 2 may last for “some time” and that a move to Level 1 won’t be considered for at least as long as there remains a threat that organisers decide to go ahead with annual kids’ concert Christmas in the Park.

Ardern said the risk that Christmas in the Park still happens is “not negligible”, and that the country must remain vigilant and prepared.

“The last thing we would want is to signal a move down to Level 1 and open the door for those with ill intent to stage what would otherwise be prohibited events,” she said. “I know that there are many good, hard working, honest event organisers out there who wouldn’t ever consider hosting something like that, and I know things are very very hard right now, but if we move too early, without proper consideration, the results could be catastrophic.”

Christmas in the Park is an annual outdoor concert staged in both Auckland and Christchurch that invites children to drag along their parents to watch washed up celebrities from the late 90s and early 2000s perform G rated songs with R rated psychological consequences. It also provides a barely plausible alibi for preteens and offers them a venue to get extremely drunk off a single 4% beer.

The concert is currently prohibited under Level 2 gathering restrictions.

Ardern said she wanted to be able to provide “certainty” to parents that this year there was “little to no risk” of the show emerging in their communities.

While the Auckland Christmas in the Park was now considered “low risk”, the Christchurch Christmas in the Park remained a “specific, credible threat.”

“We have very likely stamped out the concert in Auckland,” said Ardern, “but there remains some evidence of the idea circulating in the South Island.”

“We have to remember why we’re doing this,” she added. “We don’t want to have come all this way for nothing.”