Government in a spin as Delta bites

The Government’s lack of planning for Delta is being exposed as every day brings more confusion and evidence the Government is just making things up as it goes, says Leader of the Opposition Judith Collins.

“The Prime Minister has admitted this morning that the whole country may go into the traffic light system at the end of November, which begs the question as to why the 90 per cent target for every DHB was launched only two weeks ago. Was it just a play for time to get something as simple as vaccine certificates ready?

“It appears the DHB target was needed to simply hide the fact that New Zealand couldn’t move to the traffic light system when it was announced because the Government needed to buy an extra month to get vaccine certificates and legislation ready. Instead, we have this weird charade of the Government setting a target and then just a few weeks later walking it back.

“Either that, or the Prime Minister has belatedly realised what most people knew already – that it will be extremely difficult for every DHB to get to 90 per cent, and those who have done the right thing and gotten vaccinated don’t want to held back by the few who won’t.

“Yesterday, Chris Hipkins said that legislation for the response framework – which he has previously said would include vaccine certificates and easier rules for businesses over vaccination requirements – would only be introduced to the House in the week beginning November 22.

“The Government apparently wants the traffic light system and vaccine certificates to be operational from the end of November, so it appears Parliament will be either be legislating urgently with no select committee process, or the legislation will be retrospective.

“This all smacks of a Government in a blind panic, just getting through each week, making it up as it goes.

“Lockdowns were effective in 2020 but, in 2021, the Government has squandered opportunities and learnings. Jacinda Ardern spent the first six months of the year in smug self-congratulation mode, happy to oversee the developed world’s slowest vaccine rollout and not prepare for Delta.

“New Zealand is now bearing the consequences of the Prime Minister’s self-satisfaction and lack of a plan in November 2021. The Auckland nightmare continues with no clear end in sight, Aucklanders face Government-allocated timeslots to leave over summer, rapid testing still isn’t available, saliva testing has been a debacle as confirmed by the Auditor-General yesterday, and tens of thousands of fully vaccinated Kiwis can’t come home for Christmas because of the MIQ lottery. Meanwhile, people with Covid die in home isolation in the community.

“Vaccine certificates aren’t ready, ICU hasn’t been boosted, and nurses and doctors still wait offshore to enter New Zealand because of the MIQ disaster.

“A million vaccinated Aucklanders are still locked down because the Government had no backup plan. It assumed elimination would work again. It didn’t. The Government had no backup plan and now New Zealand is paying the price.”