“The Prime Minister’s announcement on Alert Level 3 this afternoon was broadly encouraging but she must provide more flexibility for retailers”, says ACT Leader David Seymour.
“The Alert Level 3 rules say it’s acceptable for a supermarket to have fifty customers inside at one time, but butchers, bakers and greengrocers can’t open on a ‘one in, one out’ basis.
“The Government must give retailers, particularly those in the food sector, the opportunity to operate in the same way dairies are allowed to.
“ACT has advocated for a ‘safety’ over an ‘essential’ approach to economic activity since 30 March. If the objective is to stop the spread of COVID-19, the test should be whether something can be done safely, not whether it is essential. Moving to a test of safety will help fight the virus while salvaging businesses.
“In dictating what is ‘essential’, politicians and bureaucrats have decided our goals for us and erased freedom at the most basic level.
“As we move out of Level 4, New Zealanders must be treated like adults. Australia is showing that, rather than politicians and bureaucrats dictating what is essential for people, it’s better to focus on what activities can be done safely. The Australian Government has treated its citizens like adults while New Zealanders are being infantilised.
“The Government needs to trust that New Zealanders can follow basic rules to minimise the transmission of COVID-19.
“COVID-19 has presented the Government with significant challenges, but decisions about essential businesses have at times been confusing, arbitrary and unfair. This cannot be allowed to continue.
“It’s encouraging to hear that the Government will provide more detailed information for business sectors in the coming days.
“We need businesses and the economy to bounce back as quickly as possible. One way to achieve this is with clear guidance to each sector of the economy on who is able to open and what the rules will be.”