National welcomes lifting of Auckland lockdown

Lifting the Auckland lockdown will be welcome news to all those people who have slogged their way through Level 3 multiple times now, Leader of the Opposition Judith Collins says.

But given the Government’s confidence that this outbreak is under control, National sees no good reason why Auckland can’t shift to Level 2 on Saturday and the rest of the country shift to Level 1.

“I’d like to thank Aucklanders for their sacrifice to keep the whole country safe from Covid-19, particularly all the public health workers who performed thousands of Covid-19 tests and other critical tasks, as well as everyone who came forward to get tested,” Ms Collins says.

“Business owners and their employees also deserve special mention for putting their operations on pause and their livelihoods on the line once again.

“In the absence of any evidence that it would be dangerous to do so, we think these businesses should be spared the multi-million dollar hit of remaining closed on Saturday.

“Unfortunately, this latest outbreak has further exposed the rough edges of the Government’s Covid-19 response. Contact tracing still isn’t the ‘gold standard’ that the Government would have us think it is. Letting numerous calls and texts to close contacts go unanswered, and not knocking on doors, isn’t good enough.

“These lockdowns are costing the economy half a billion dollars each week. It’s the reason this yo-yoing in and out of lockdown must be avoided.

“The Government should consider the safeguards in National’s five-point plan for managing community cases, particularly rapid antigen testing – nasal swab tests that return results in 15 minutes – and increased monitoring of people in self-isolation, including spot checks.

“Jacinda Ardern should also reconsider National’s proposal to pay 100 per cent of a person’s wages and salary for two weeks if they are ordered to self-isolate. This will incentivise people to stay home and save lives. It is the right thing to do; it’s the kind thing to do.”

“Vaccines remain our best weapon in the fight against Covid-19 and economically-crippling lockdowns. We hope that in the coming weeks the Government reveals its timetable for vaccinating the entire population so Kiwis have the clarity they need to plan for the future.”