Kiwis paying heavy price for Govt border failure

National supports extending the wage subsidy following Auckland’s Level 3 lockdown, but ongoing subsidies can’t hide the heavy price Kiwis are paying for the Government’s border failures, National’s Finance spokesperson Paul Goldsmith says.

“Despite tens of billions of dollars of stimulus, more than 70,000 New Zealanders have gone on to Government unemployment benefits since the first lockdown in March.  

“This second lockdown will cost more jobs and put families under intense pressure.

“The Prime Minister was correct when she said in April that ‘the worst thing we can do for our country is to yo-yo between levels, with all of the uncertainty that this would bring’.

“Yet her Government inexplicably failed to ensure everyone working on the border or in quarantine facilities was regularly tested.

“You can’t have an elimination strategy and take such big risks on the border.

“The Minister of Health thought it was too much to insist that all border workers were tested; but it is not too much to ask 1.5 million to go into lockdown again.

“Not only is the second lockdown costing kids educationally, costing parents their jobs and the wider economy perhaps $400 million a week, the uncertainty it brings will further crush business confidence and delay our recovery. 

“Borrowing $1.6 billion more to pay wage subsidies is necessary now, to help businesses that can’t trade for public health reasons, but we have to give ourselves the best shot to rebuild by competently managing the border.

“Effective border management is the foundation on which our economy can recover. 

“Beyond that, National’s economic plan of job friendly policies, low taxes and quality infrastructure will revive our economy and restore household incomes.”