Govt takes no responsibility for costly lockdown

We are two weeks into a stricter lockdown, which Treasury estimates is costing the country $500 million a week and many jobs, and the Government refuses to take any responsibility, National’s Finance spokesperson Paul Goldsmith says.

“The most likely cause of the community outbreak is systematic failures in border security, overseen by the Government. Its failure to test everyone working at the border is acknowledged, but responsibility for the economic fallout for Kiwi families and businesses is not.”

Finance Minister Grant Robertson confirmed in Parliament today that the latest advice from Treasury was the extended lockdown was costing around $500 million a week in lost economic activity.

“As well as the $500 million a week in lost economic activity, the strict lockdown is expected to cost $1.6 billion in extra wage subsidies. That doesn’t include the costs in jobs lost and the impact that has on families.

“That is even without extending the wage subsidies to two weeks and four days, which is the least the Government can do for businesses on their knees begging for help in Auckland.

“The current community outbreak is putting real pressure on families, workers and business owners throughout the country – what they need most of all is some reassurance that we will do everything we can to avoid it happening again. 

“A Government that can’t acknowledge its part in the problem cannot give confidence for the future.”