Officials recommended South Island go to Green

Under questioning in the House today Chris Hipkins has finally revealed that Ministry of Health officials’ initial advice was that Wellington, Hawke’s Bay and the whole of the South should have entered the Traffic Light Framework at Green, National’s spokesperson for Covid-19 Response Chris Bishop says.

“The Government’s application of the criteria for each colour setting has always been opaque and unclear. Some regions such as Auckland are at Red even though that is meant to be for when hospitalisations are unsustainable. In the Prime Minister’s own words that isn’t the case, but yet Auckland is at Red anyway.

“Today we discover the officials’ initial view was that vast swathes of the country could enter the framework at Green.

“This makes sense. Big chunks of the South Island are over 90 per cent double vaccinated, but the Government has placed them into Orange anyway, with greater restrictions than justified.”

“The Labour Government has dragged its feet on lifting restrictions on New Zealand’s highly vaccinated population.

“The Traffic Light Framework is complicated enough without opaque decision-making like this.

“Kiwis have done the right thing this year. They’ve gone and got vaccinated in record numbers, and vaccination is demonstrably working.

“New Zealanders need to know what the precise criteria are for a region to be at Red, Orange or Green. The Government has never been upfront about this, simply saying it is about a blend of factors. We simply can’t have a situation where every two weeks Ministers meet and make decisions about the level of restrictions people in a particular region will face, based on unclear and opaque criteria.”