Government’s Covid confusion the new virus variant

The Government continues to make up its Covid response up on the fly, randomly and publicly pondering changes to the traffic light framework announced only a few weeks ago and providing absolutely no certainty to Aucklanders or the rest of the country, says Leader of the Opposition Judith Collins.

“Three weeks ago the Government’s traffic light framework was unveiled. Already it is being changed, yet more indication the Government has never had a plan for the move from elimination to suppression.

“We still have no clarity when the traffic light framework starts, and in recent days the Prime Minister has mused about softening the 90 per cent target for the whole country.

“Strangely, today we have the new advice that actually, the traffic light system is more robust than the alert level system, so we should move to it early. The obvious question is, why didn’t we simply move to it right away, when it was announced in October?

“What the Prime Minister can’t say is that New Zealand couldn’t have moved to a vaccine certificate system in October, or today, because Labour hasn’t done the work needed to get certificates or legislation ready. It seems the DHB target was a weird charade to buy time while vaccine certificates and enabling legislation was cobbled together.

“The Prime Minister’s press conferences used to provide at least some sense of clarity. Now every time she or her senior ministers speak the situation gets more confusing.

“New Zealand needs certainty. The country needs a date, and a clear plan for what will happen on that date, not vague platitudes and ever shifting positions and rules.

“Legislation for the traffic light framework has not even been introduced to Parliament to establish the framework, and Parliament will no doubt be expected to rush it into law at some point before the end of the year.

“This is shambolic, incompetent governance by a Government that has never had a backup plan for if, and when, elimination failed.

“Aucklanders will also be annoyed by today’s announcement of an announcement, now a hallmark of the Ardern regime.

“There is no excuse for the Prime Minister to withhold information on the Auckland border until Wednesday. Aucklanders have been in limbo for three months and if the Prime Minister has made decisions on when the border will lift then she should release that information to the public.

“Also on Wednesday, Auckland will supposedly learn if the absurd idea of Government-allocated timeslots to leave Auckland over summer will be adopted, or if the Government has a backup plan.

“This whole mess could largely have been avoided if the Government had got its act together and sorted vaccine certificates before now. It only started the work in July, which is the same month a European Union digital passport went live.

“Kiwis are waking up to the fact the Government has no idea what it is doing. It never had a plan for what to do when, and if, elimination failed, and now Kiwis are facing the consequences.”