“Today’s Epidemic Response Committee hearing revealed that businesses want the Government to start listening to them, provide clear guidance about the rules at lower Alert Levels, and hit pause on new regulations”, says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“We’re told that we’re all in this together, so the Government must start talking to businesses rather than simply dictating terms.

“Restaurant Industry of New Zealand CEO Marisa Bidois told the Committee a number of businesses were putting in place contactless solutions that could get the industry operating again with minimal risk. But Bidois said she’d had little engagement with the Government.

“Almost every industry leader who presented to the Committee requested more clarity about its decision framework for lowering the Alert Level and what the rules would be at Alert Levels 2 and 3.

“As Phil O’Reilly pointed out, confusion will lead to lower business activity and a slower recovery. Nick Leggett of the Road Transport Forum said businesses needed clarity so they can bounce back quickly.

“The Committee also heard from Federated Farmers’ National President Katie Milne who said Government needed to hit pause on freshwater and biodiversity regulations.

“New Zealand needs the primary sector to get the economy through this next period. Environmental reforms are a distraction and the rural sector can’t afford them.”