Move to Orange should be immediate

The Government should move Auckland to “Orange” in the traffic light system immediately, rather than waiting another two and a half weeks until 30 December, National Leader Christopher Luxon says.

“The Government is simply not following its own criteria.

“By the Government’s own admission, the “Red” stage should be used when our healthcare system is overwhelmed and we’re facing unsustainable levels of hospitalisations – neither of which are happening.

“The Prime Minister spent a long time in her press conference outlining how the outbreak is under control. There are just 61 cases in hospital, with only four in ICU. The case numbers are fewer than the modelling suggests. The “R rate” is now below 1. New Zealand is just 48,000 doses shy of 90 per cent of the eligible population being vaccinated. Auckland is one of the most vaccinated places in the world.

“All of these signs indicate Auckland should be in “Orange”, not “Red”, right now.

“The traffic light setting makes a huge difference to the economic viability of small businesses, including hospitality. Many of those businesses will be beyond frustrated at being given a glimpse of further freedoms but having to wait another 17 days, despite being at their peak summer trading period.

“Today was yet another announcement of a future announcement.

“The Government should also drop the idea of continuing to enforce the Auckland border over summer. It simply doesn’t make sense to delay Aucklanders for hours in their cars to check whether they’re vaccinated or have had a recent rapid antigen test. The costs of doing this simply outweigh the marginal benefits of doing so.

“Around 600 police officers will be involved in manning the Auckland border over summer or working in MIQ. Every police officer on the Auckland border is a police officer pulled away from tackling real crime around the country.

“The traffic light framework will only enjoy public confidence and support if the decisions made under it make sense. The Government simply aren’t following their own criteria, which will leave many New Zealanders wondering what the purpose of the criteria even is.”