Bring back the Epidemic Response Committee

The National Party is calling for the reinstatement of the Epidemic Response Committee following the disgraceful behaviour of Labour MPs in select committees this week, Leader of the Opposition Judith Collins says.

“We have launched a petition to send a message to Jacinda Ardern and her Government that their undemocratic, underhanded behaviour is unacceptable and her Government must front up and take responsibility.

“The Prime Minister assured New Zealanders that select committees alone would be sufficient for the Opposition to scrutinise and critique the actions of the Government. However, with Labour MPs chairing these committees it is evident that no meaningful scrutiny can take place.

“Labour are blocking motions, dictating which questions can be asked, and are doing everything they can to reduce the amount of time ministers and officials have to face Opposition questions.

“This was a problem before the latest Covid-19 outbreak and lockdown and as the stakes have risen so too has the determination of Labour MPs to shield their own ministers from accountability.

“The Prime Minister has suspended Parliament while New Zealand faces its worst outbreak of Covid-19 since April 2020. There are serious questions for the Government to answer about how this happened, why we have the slowest vaccine roll-out in the western world, and how we get through this latest lockdown.

“We need the Epidemic Response Committee back, chaired by me as the Leader of the Opposition, with the right to ask tough questions of Ministers and officials.”