New ways to help individuals and retailers withdraw and deposit cash will be piloted in New Zealand's rural communities lacking commercial bank over-the-counter or ATM cash services.
Twenty severe weather warnings and watches are in place as tropical cyclone Gabrielle is landing far north of New Zealand and is expected to swipe through most parts of the North Island from Sunday.
Auckland and many other places in the region were upgraded to red alert on the day as MetService, the national meteorological service of the country, warned that the worst weather is yet to come, Xinhua News Agency reported.
The government warned many parts of the North Island, including the biggest and most populated city Auckland, might be impacted destructively and asked residents to prepare sandbags to buffer their homes, store food and water, and be ready for necessary evacuations in the coming days.
Many sandbag stations are set up across Auckland overnight, and locals are encouraged to prepare their own sandbags for extreme situations.
New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins urged people to “take the severe weather warning seriously” and “stay at home, cancel all unnecessary travels.”
Auckland mayor Wayne Brown also noted “people need to prepare for the worst.”
The national carrier Air NZ cancelled all domestic flights in and out of Auckland on Sunday, and many international flights are also cancelled.
This is only two weeks after Auckland and the adjacent region Waikato were inundated by record downpours and floods.
Red Warnings are only issued for the most significant weather events, and this is the second time in the year 2023.