Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Does Finance Minister have enough information to lift lockdown?

ACT Leader David Seymour is questioning whether the Finance Minister has enough information about COVID-19 to know when New Zealand should come out of lockdown.

“Every day of this lockdown is costing a fortune. Livelihoods are being lost as businesses burn up their working capital and go broke”, says Mr Seymour.

“The most valuable information in New Zealand today is knowing when the whole country, or some regions, should come out of lockdown.

“If we lower the Alert Level too soon, it could be deadly from a public health perspective. But if we leave it too late, it will be economically deadly.

“Yesterday, the Minister of Health and the Director-General of Health were challenged by Sir David Skegg to do more testing, to bring forward planned epidemiological studies, to do blood testing for people with COVID-19 antibodies, and to survey random parts of the population. We learned this is not happening and that only half our testing capacity is being used.

“The Government is having to make difficult decisions already, but a lack of public health data will make the job even harder. The danger is that the Government is flying blind.

“It is critical that the Minister of Finance has enough information about what’s really happening from a public health perspective to know when to lift the lockdown.”