26 Sep 2023
The Prime Minister has advised me that she is unilaterally suspending parliament, Leader of the Opposition Judith Collins says.
“I have expressed that a one week suspension of Parliament is all the National Party will support. However, the Prime Minister has indicated that she expects it will continue longer than that.
“At a time when New Zealanders have the harshest lockdown in the world and have lost our freedoms because of the Government’s failure to vaccinate and secure the border, this move by Jacinda Ardern is unfathomable.
“Look around the world and you will see parliaments managing to continue to function despite challenging circumstances. In the UK they operated virtually for almost a year.
“There are important questions that need to be asked as to how Delta got into New Zealand. Suspending Parliament means the Government avoids this scrutiny.
“As Leader of the Opposition I will be reaching out to the ACT and Māori Parties to establish how best we can prevent this shut down of democracy at the very moment we need it the most.
“Additionally, Labour have resisted all calls for the recommencement of the Epidemic Response Committee. Jacinda Ardern clearly thinks that her actions and the actions of her Government should be beyond reproach and is moving to ensure that is the case.
“This is unacceptable and an overreach of power. It leaves New Zealanders with no ability to demand accountability and transparency from the Government.
“Clearly, despite her assurances to govern for all New Zealanders, Jacinda Ardern is unwilling to be accountable to them.
“The National Party will lead the Opposition to demand democracy is retained during this time of crisis. New Zealand cannot and will not become a one-party dictatorship.”