“Saying there’s no evidence for claims is weaselly as 1990s climate change denial,” says ACT Leader David Seymour. “If the Government knows that the person at the centre of the Northland COVID outbreak was not a gang-related sex worker, it should say so instead of treating the public like mushrooms.”

“The jungle drums are beating loudly and half of New Zealand has heard that Northland is locked down due to a gang-linked sex worker illegally crossing the Auckland border. If true, members of the public may have seen activity that could help with contact tracing.

“If the rumours are untrue, the Government needs to go further than saying ‘there is no evidence,’ like a 1960s tobacco lobbyist. They need to actually show the claims are not true.

Unfortunately, instead of confirming or denying the Government is giving the public the mushroom treatment. In a democracy we deserve much better treatment from the Government we pay for.

“As an opposition party leader, I am reluctant to give oxygen to rumours. The problem is these rumours are now so prevalent the Government has a duty to tell us what it knows. Otherwise, the information vacuum is filled by some of our most dishonourable citizens, and we’re forced to choose who to believe out of Winston Peters and Harry Tam. Some choices.

“ACT will be submitting Parliamentary Questions to get to the truth about this Northland outbreak. Here are some initial questions that the Minister will have to answer within five working days from Monday:

Has Cabinet or the Minister for COVID-19 Response every been briefed on the name, occupation, or criminal history of a person who tested positive for COVID-19 before?

Has Harry Tam ever had an exemption that would allow him to visit Northland from Auckland, in spite of an Alert Level boundary?

When did Govt learn the Northland case’s travel document was false?

What information led the Govt to believe case’s travel document was false?

Who provided the information that led the Govt to believe case’s travel document was false?

What new information was Minister referring to in 630pm press conference, that led to Cabinet convening?

What was the purpose of the travel pass issued to the Northland case?

What information was Cabinet given about the Northland case on and in the week leading up to Friday 8 October?

Did any officials attend Cabinet when it convened on Friday October 8, and if so who were they?

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