Shambolic Government still can’t provide clarity

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern still can’t tell Aucklanders how or when they’ll be allowed to leave Auckland for Christmas, says Leader of the Opposition Judith Collins.

“The Government created an almighty mess for itself after Covid Minister Chris Hipkins mused out loud last week about Aucklanders being given a state-sanctioned, allocated time to leave the region during the holiday period.

“Despite senior ministers Grant Robertson and David Parker trying to shut the issue down, Jacinda Ardern still won’t rule it out, indicating it is remains on the table as an option as the Government scrambles to figure out what on earth to do.

“All we got this afternoon was what Jacinda Ardern has now become famous for at the 4pm Podium of Truth: an announcement of an announcement. Next week, apparently, Aucklanders will hear how and when they will be allowed to leave Auckland for summer.

“It is wrong to keep Aucklanders in purgatory. They’ve done the heavy lifting for the country during a prolonged lockdown that was meant to be ‘short and sharp’ but continues to drag on after three months.

“Of course, if vaccine certificates were available right now, then vaccinated Aucklanders could safely travel right now. The fact that they are still unavailable is an indictment of the lack of work the Government has done this year to prepare for Delta and a world in which New Zealand enjoys high vaccination rates.

“Cabinet only authorised the development of vaccine certificates on July 5 this year.

“The country needs and deserves certainty. The goal should be to get to 85 per cent double vaccination or December 1, whichever comes first, and then open up.

“Finally, today’s announcement that boosters have been approved by Medsafe is a promising step forward but it is baffling that the Covid Technical Advisory Group is still considering the issue. Many countries have been rolling out boosters for months now and Australia started two weeks ago.

“Why is New Zealand so slow, yet again?”