Thursday, 12 August 2021

Give Us A Clue: COVID Edition


“Today’s big announcement will feel like Give Us A Clue: COVID Edition,” predicts ACT Leader David Seymour.

“After the highly disappointing Skegg report that was really just three letters, the Government needs to give us a clue on the big questions about our COVID future.

“The Skegg letters told us nothing that was not in ACT’s COVID 2.0 report. We just released it six months earlier. It told us that vaccination is important, but even then new variants could be vaccine busters. Anyone with a subscription to The Economist would know much more than the Skegg letters revealed.

“Today, the Ardern Government will do what it does best, an announcement, with a cast of characters over a livestream.

  • Will this ‘show’ release any new data, reports or plans to the public, and will it outline the steps of a staged reopening?
  • Will the Government present different scenarios depending on how many people take up the vaccine and how effective it is
  • Will the Government give tangible and timely plans to expand MIQ space, to alleviate what is a humanitarian and economic crisis?
  • Will the Government give tangible and timely plans to reduce MIQ requirements for some travellers?
  • Will the Government give tangible and timely plans to incorporate new technologies such as rapid antigen testing into its response?
  • Will the Government give tangible and timely plans to accelerate the vaccine roll-out, with new vaccine types to diversify supply, or new distribution channels?
  • Will the Government answer the major strategic question of whether it will begin reopening the border even if it does not reach ‘herd immunity?’

“ACT predicts that the production values of this morning’s show will be outstanding, but New Zealanders will emerge with no more tangible information about what the Government’s plans are to deal with COVID, because they don’t know themselves.

“What the Government should have done is formed a multi-disciplinary team that works across government and private sector lines to come up with scenarios and options for responding to COVID over the next year. It should release all the advice publicly as a matter of course.

“That would be a response worthy of New Zealand. Unfortunately we are 18 months into a crisis and the Government’s basic response is unchanged.”