As lockdown drags on, the Government drags its feet

The admission by the Prime Minister today that it is now estimated each positive Covid case in our current outbreak is passing the virus onto between 1.2 and 1.3 people poses more questions on the lockdown exit plan for Auckland, says Leader of the Opposition Judith Collins.

“Today the Prime Minister conceded that, at our current rate of spread, we would expect case numbers to double every few weeks.

“Such a rate would see New Zealand recording more than 100 cases a day in just a few weeks, and more than 400 a day by the end of November.

“It is clear the eight-week Auckland lockdown is no longer about elimination. So, what is it about, Prime Minister? The concession that we only expect case numbers to grow under current restrictions raises more serious questions for the Prime Minister.

“Businesses, school kids and families across Auckland need to be given some idea on how long the lockdown will last. Is the lockdown now just buying time while we catch up on our slow vaccination rollout? If so, what are the conditions for exit? People being asked to give up so much need to know when the restrictions will end.

“Case numbers were trending down but are now clearly on a steady rise since Auckland left Level 4. When will the Prime Minister release the health advice relied on to make the decision to reduce restrictions?

“If Auckland cases are expected to steadily rise, when, if ever, will the South Island come out of Level 2?

“If case numbers continue to rise, what are the conditions for kids to go back to school?

“The Prime Minister needs to urgently release a plan to move New Zealand past this lockdown.

“National’s ‘Opening Up’ plan details a strategy for New Zealand to end lockdowns and move to a vigorous suppression strategy. The Prime Minister could give much-needed clarity to Kiwis immediately by adopting our plan.”

You can read our 'Opening Up' plan here.