Major Events in Jeopardy with Red Light Looming

On Thursday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that all of New Zealand would move to the red-light system within 24 to 48 hours of evidence showing Omicron spreading in the community – a move which would limit gatherings to 100 people, with vaccine passes.

Callam Mitchell of Team Event is poised to hold four major events in Christchurch in coming weeks, including Electric Avenue which is expected to attract 25,000 people.

He said it was a '’testing time’’ and a move to red in the traffic light system ''flies in the face'' of previous Government assurances the red setting would only be used ''when the health system was under extreme pressure''.

''I’m feeling pretty shocked and surprised that the whole country will move into the red traffic light off the back of a small outbreak of one or two community cases of a spicy cough that’s seemingly no more severe than the flu - albeit more infectious,'' Mitchell said.

''It would be devastating for our team who have worked so hard over the past year to pull these events together. Not to mention the artists and suppliers who rely on events like ours, and the ticket holders who are looking forward to them.''

At this stage Mitchell said he was ''pushing ahead'' to begin building the stage this weekend for the Great Kiwi Beer Festival scheduled to be held at North Hagley Park on January 29.

It will be followed by the South Island Wine & Food Festival, postponed from December to Waitangi weekend, followed by Nostalgia Festival and Electric Avenue at the end of February.

''If we are forced into the red traffic light and unable to proceed with events, all of our ticket holders will receive refunds,'' said Mitchell.

''We are protected by the government insurance scheme, but for now it's business as usual. We’ll just get on and do our job for now, and hopefully the government will do theirs by keeping it out of the community.

''We have a track record of being able to do our job, I guess we’ll see in the next few weeks whether they can do theirs.''