“If the Government moves Auckland to Level 3 today then it needs to be clear with New Zealanders that it has given up on the elimination strategy,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“During the first lockdown, the Government kept New Zealanders in Level 4 based on the four-day average of 10 cases of the less contagious strain. If it now moved to Level 3 on a four-day average of 20 cases of Delta, and persistent unlinked cases each day, then surely the elimination strategy is over?

“The Government makes a big show of following the science. There is no science behind Auckland to Alert Level 3, it’s all politics. The Government is realising, too late, that it has to balance all parts of New Zealanders’ wellbeing.

“The decision also brings into question the role of key commentators. This time last lockdown, they said it was irresponsible to talk about moving down Alert Levels with 10 cases per day. Now, with twice as many daily cases of a more contagious strain, they’re talking up why moving down might be safer.

“The fine line between modellers and experts on the one hand, and political activists on the other, is getting finer by the day. What we really need is transparency of the Government’s strategy.

“The Government needs to tell us what the strategy is and what it’s done to support any new strategy. Does it think COVID-19 can be eliminated at Level 3 and how long will it take?

“It needs to get the rules of the game straight. The continuous changes to the level system are confusing and often don’t make sense.

“What changes has it made to improve testing, contact tracing and vaccination? This is what will get our lives back to normal. Questions such as ‘when will the vaccine roll out be complete?’ need to be answered. What is the Government’s position on rapid antigen testing. Will it roll out more saliva testing and what are the targets for it? Does it think the Alert Level rules are fit for purpose in a Delta environment, or will it alter them?

“If the strategy has changed, then Jacinda Ardern needs to drop the spin, treat us like adults and tell us how the new strategy will work.”