“It is inevitable the Government will announce Auckland is coming out of lockdown this afternoon – it has to – and they will portray the lockdown as having saved Aucklanders, when it hasn’t, it’s cost them dearly,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.
“By the Government’s own previously used eight criteria Auckland has to come out of lockdown, but those criteria also reveal the absurdity of having gone in.
“For the want of one door-knock and a simple question the city, its shops, shows, exhibitions, people’s medical procedures and countless other serious costs would have been saved.
“Let’s run through the criteria used when Auckland was last considered for a move from level 3 to what was then called level 2.5:
- Trends in the transmission of the virus, including the Director General’s confidence in the data – there is only one trend, zero community cases, so this gets a TICK
- The capacity and capability of our testing and contact tracing system – while it’s undoubtedly poor contact tracing that got us here – no one knocked on a door – today’s 1pm update put everyone who’s been critical of the contact tracers in their place: ‘We would like to acknowledge the incredible work of our public health and contact tracing teams’; another TICK
- The effectiveness of isolation, quarantine and border measures – again from today’s 1pm update: ‘These people have been working long hours, seven days a week, to follow up with all close contacts as quickly as possible and are in daily contact with people isolating’; TICK
- Capacity in the health system more generally – N/A TICK
- Effects on local economies – simply massive; businesspeople already under huge stress are at their wit’s end; estimated to be a quarter of a billion dollars; TICK!
- Effect on at-risk populations – also massive; people need to return to work, get medical treatments, and see family and friends; the mental health impact of yo-yo-ing in and out of lockdown can’t be underestimated; TICK
- How people have been following the rules – people have been remarkably tolerant of this lockdown, given the increasingly tenuous reasons for going into it; they won’t follow the rules forever if it’s clear to them it doesn’t make sense though; TICK
- The ability to operationalise a new alert level – N/A TICK
“So there you are then, all the reasons this will be the simplest decision this Cabinet has ever made, no matter how they dress it up as a difficult decision based on serious evaluation of risk.
“As ACT has been saying for some time, we need a proper policy, resourcing and cultural re-set.
“We can’t keep doing the same things as patchily as we have been, having the same less than acceptable results, and then patting ourselves on the back and pretending we’re the envy of the world.
“Don’t believe the Prime Minister’s spin this afternoon when she tells you the ‘team of five million’ has done it again.”