The Covid-19 Response Minister says New Zealand is in talks with several companies that are working to make a vaccine for Covid-19 but will not confirm if work is underway to secure the latest one proven to be effective.
Moderna announced overnight its vaccine has been found to be 94.5 percent effective in preventing Covid-19.
Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins told Morning Report there were "about 230 vaccine candidates under development ... we're monitoring them all and we're in conversation with as many of them as we can be".
He said it is unlikely people will have to pay for a vaccine when one arrives - hopefully in the new year.
He would not confirm if New Zealand was in talks with Moderna because there were "different degrees of commercial sensitivity" around those vaccine candidates.
But Hipkins was confident that "when vaccines come to the market, we will be at the front of the queue for those".
Last week, it was revealed that the government had purchased several bulk freezers for storing a coronavirus vaccine after news one could be ready next year.
Pfizer and German partner BioNTech SE are the first drugmakers to release successful data from a large-scale clinical trial of a vaccine.
The Pfizer product is not a done deal but is the strongest contender so far.
"Our strategy here is we are looking at a portfolio of vaccines, so there won't be a single vaccine for New Zealanders."
He said it was likely the country would receive different vaccines over different timetables, and it was necessary to set up the technology to be able to distribute them.
"The Pfizer vaccine requires a very very low temperature, -80C, in order to store it and to transport it.
"Whereas this latest one [Moderna], you're talking at a more regular vaccine temperature for storage and transport.
"We're making sure we've got the trucks and the refrigerators and all the gear ready to go for all the different potential vaccines, so ... when they start arriving, we can start getting them out quickly."
Hipkins did not give a set budget for the vaccines and the infrastructure to store and transport them, instead said: "Whatever we need to".
He said logistics were still being worked through.
"There will be an element of science involved here as well,'' Hipkins said.
Hipkins said it is a commercially sensitive matter until a deal is signed.
"So who is the vaccine most effective with? Are there any population groups that are more at risk from a vaccine than others? And again, that's going to depend on the individual vaccine.''
National's health spokesperson says said government should be transparent about who it is talking to about Covid vaccines.
Dr Shane Reti said talking about those relationships is a reasonable expectation.
"I think we should be expressing that we have a relationship and that we have some hope we'll be part of their procurement package. I think that's very reasonable,'' he said.
Masks in Auckland taxis
"We did look at taxis ... enforcement becomes a potential issue."
He said the government also factored in the distance inside taxis.
"You're in a much smaller group of people, the taxi driver themselves will be wearing a mask ... most people sit it the back seat which means they're distanced from the driver.
"Maintaining good hygiene in their cab is one of the best things they can do to protect themselves and protect their passengers."
Public health expert Michael Baker, who has repeatedly called for the use of masks, believes it will help dampen down the threat of community transmission and avoid another lockdown.
According to the Public Health Response Act, a person might be liable for a fine of up to $1000 for not complying with the mask rules.
Labour MPs mask-up
The prime minister instructed all Labour MPs to wear masks on planes when the caucus met after the election.
Covid Response Minister Chris Hipkins said the feedback he has had is that Labour MPs are, even though it has not been mandated.
On Thursday it will be compulsory to wear masks on all domestic flights and on public transport in Auckland.
Hipkins said Jacinda Ardern gave the instruction at the first Labour caucus meeting.
CovidCard and user privacy
Hipkins said the CovidCard trial was due to wrap up in the next few days and its results should be out in a week or two.
The government is also looking at different technologies that could be incorporated, but there were "concerns around ... protecting people's privacy".
An NZ Covid Tracer app user owned all the data they fed into it, he said, and the government did not "pull that data away from you".
"So anything that we did in that GPS, Bluetooth technology space we would be working on the same principle."