Labour needs to stand up for the essential primary sector workers who are wrongly being turned away at Auckland region checkpoints, MP for Hunua Andrew Bayly and National’s Agriculture spokesperson David Bennett say.
“Auckland is almost 10 days into their regional lockdown and there has still been no specific exemptions granted by the Ministry of Health to allow primary sector workers to carry out essential services across the Auckland regional border.” Mr Bayly says.
“These travel exemptions should have been ready to go at the first sign of regional restrictions. Instead, it has taken a week for the Minister to secure exemptions for the dairy, horticulture, and poultry sectors.”
Many other parts of the primary sector are still waiting for individual Ministry of Health approval. Mr Bayly’s office has received numerous complaints from frustrated workers in the following sectors:
- Sheep and beef farming
- Drystock farming
- Equine breeding and racing
“The Minister of Agriculture needs to be advocating for and obtaining exemptions for these industries.” Mr Bennett says.
“These businesses can’t afford to wait weeks for Labour to get their act together. The longer they have to wait the more production they lose.
“Labour are an incompetent government who can't deliver. This is just another example, and it’s costing people jobs, businesses and livelihoods.
“We have written to the Minister of Agriculture and the Minister of Health requesting that they work to ensure that the primary sector receives these travel for work exemptions to alleviate the unfair restrictions placed on these essential workers.”
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