Summary Weary Aucklanders who have been locked down for 83 days to delay covid from leaking to the rest of NZ are looking forward to new freedoms likely to be opened up after the Cabinet meets today. 

City of sales Shops are likely to reopen in time for Christmas as expectations rise that restrictions in Auckland will be downgraded today despite record hospitalisations due to covid. Settings are now closely tied to vaccination levels, and the region reached 90% coverage last night for first vaccinations. Under proposed changes, which would come into effect tomorrow at midnight, shops would be able to operate with safe distancing requirements and mask use, outdoor gatherings could increase from 10 to 25, and public facilities like the zoo, libraries and museums would reopen. Alert levels for the tip of Northland will also be reviewed today.

Bookings flood Tourism operations and accommodation providers are readying for a flood of bookings from today after the prime minister’s weekend assurance that vaccinated Aucklanders will be able to travel for Christmas. Northland has been cut off from its biggest market not only by Auckland’s level three restrictions, but also from the rest of NZ except by air. Other adjacent popular destinations, such as Taupo and Coromandel, have also suffered.

Euthanasia workforce Having a ready and willing workforce is the biggest challenge under the new regime for assisted dying, which came into force over the weekend. Euthanasia is now legal in NZ. Kapiti man Steve Smith may be one of the first to use the new legislation.

Fast-tracked freedom Fully vaccinated people in NSW will be freed from most restrictions from today under a fast-tracked roadmap to reopening. The next level of reopening had been due to come into force on December 1 but was moved forward, with all restrictions removed from today with the exception of continued mask-wearing inside and density limits on gatherings such as funerals, weddings and venues. Unvaccinated people will continue with restrictions until NSW reaches 95% vaccination for those over 16, predicted for mid-December. 

One-way bubble A one-way travel bubble from low-risk Pacific countries resumes today. Travellers from Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu and Tokelau, will be allowed to skip MIQ.

Laxative consultation Consultation closes today on new warnings aimed at curbing parts of the weight loss industry’s promotion of laxatives as a tool. Laxatives have been found to create a number of harmful effects including dehydration and dependency, while being limited in efficacy. Stimulant laxatives are either general sale or pharmacy-only medicines, meaning they can sometimes be purchased without advice from a healthcare professional and consumers can be unaware of the harm associated with long-term use or overuse.

Sea change Fisher Funds-managed investment company Marlin Global holds its annual meeting today after a solid 25% increase in its share price to $1.51 over the past year – albeit with a recent drop from highs of $1.61 in July. In past years, the company suffered from a gap between its share price and asset value, but the past financial year saw record profits of $69.2 million compared to the previous year’s $22.6 million.

Immigration unsustainable New Zealand’s pre-pandemic immigration rate is unsustainable due to failures in building enough infrastructure and housing to keep up with population increases, the Productivity Commission's immigration inquiry says in its preliminary report. "Immigrants make an important contribution to New Zealand society," said Productivity Commission chair Ganesh Nana. "Infrastructure and housing supply have not kept up with population growth, creating pressures that affect the wellbeing of both migrants and New Zealanders. To ensure immigration contributes to the productivity and wellbeing of New Zealanders, governments need to build the assets and infrastructure needed to support a growing population, in preparation for the number of new residents, ahead of time."

Newest fund Nuance Connected Capital is New Zealand’s newest venture fund but it has hit the ground running as the lead investor in Easy Crypto’s $17 million funding round last month. The fund is fast moving and has already invested in electric motorbike makers UBCO, Quantifi Photonics and clean-tech EnergyBank since launching in May.

Riding the rebound Briscoe Group managing director Rod Duke expects the rebound once his Auckland stores reopen may be even greater than last year's unprecedented post-lockdown boom. "We think it may actually be even greater, given that we're now very, very close to Christmas and Black Friday," Duke told BusinessDesk. Black Friday, scheduled this year for Nov 26, sales are typically the largest day of the year, he said. Briscoe will run its Black Friday promotion over three days, starting on the Friday, and expects it to be the biggest three days' worth of sales for the year. Duke said his company is carrying about 20% more stock than last year to combat the logistics problems caused by covid "so our stock position is very, very good".