New Zealand at Covid crossroads

The spread of Covid into the Waikato and increasing numbers of unlinked cases is all the proof needed to confirm Level 3 in Auckland is not containing the virus in line with the Government’s elimination strategy and a new approach is urgently required, says Leader of the Opposition Judith Collins.

“The five-day Level 3 lockdown of much of the Waikato following confirmation of cases in Raglan and Hamilton shows Level 3 is not containing the virus and the Government has lost control of the situation in Auckland.

“The Prime Minister is now at a crossroads. What is her Government’s strategy? New Zealand is yet to be given a clear pathway out of lockdowns beyond the Prime Minister’s repeated claim that elimination remains the goal.

“Level 3 in Auckland and Level 2 is the rest of New Zealand is costing more than $1 billion a week. But restrictions are clearly not consistent with an elimination strategy. If the Government’s strategy has changed, it needs to tell us.

“By continuing to tell Kiwis the virus is contained the Prime Minister’s rhetoric seems increasingly divorced from the situation on the ground.

“The Level 3 lockdown of Auckland has not eliminated the virus and now it’s leaked through the Auckland boundary into the Waikato and beyond.

“At a cost of more than $1 billion a week, the Level 3 lockdown has failed to eliminate Covid. What we have now is the worst of both worlds.

“New Zealand urgently needs a plan. The situation has changed and elimination seems no longer feasible.

“We need to know what our lockdowns are aiming to achieve and when they will end. If not elimination, are we buying time while the Government catches up on its slow vaccine rollout? What is the threshold where restrictions will be lifted?

“These are questions that demand immediate answers. The Government has no exit strategy.

“National’s ‘Opening Up’ plan has a clear and workable way forward. We would urge the Government to adopt our plan in totality immediately for the good of all New Zealanders.”

You can read more about National's COVID-19 Plan here.