Wednesday, 18 August 2021

Bring back the Epidemic Response Committee


“The ACT Party is once again calling on the Government to bring back the Epidemic Response Committee,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Scrutiny of the Government’s response is essential during this pandemic. We have seen how valuable it was when Chris Hipkins made a brief appearance at the Health Select Committee a fortnight ago and could not give one example of what the Government has done in response to the emergence of Delta.

“When we last held the committee, significant information emerged from the questioning of Government Ministers and in some instances, Government policy changed as a result. For example, it became clear from the Committee’s questioning that the legal basis for the initial lockdown was unsound and the Government changed this.

“We have received extensive feedback from members of the public saying that they appreciated having this forum.  The Committee’s work was a fine example of what Parliament should do, holding the Executive accountable on behalf of the people it represents.

“This should happen not only during the lockdown, but on an ongoing basis to ensure we have a better response and avoid future lockdowns.

“The Committee would ask why vaccinations were stopped for 48 hours. Why wasn’t there planning in place for this already? What changes are they making in a day that couldn’t have already been in place.

“We are back in the same place we were 18 months ago. ACT will be here to make constructive criticisms where necessary and helpful suggestions where possible, while asking the questions New Zealanders need answered."