“The Ministry of Health’s bureaucratic exemption process for travelling in and out of Auckland is strangling local businesses,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.
“Businesses in Warkworth and Pukekohe, which are located just inside Auckland, are finding it impossible to get exemptions for their employees who live just outside the city to travel across the boundary to work.
“Local businesses have been waiting several days to hear from the Ministry of Health whether their employees can travel a few kilometres to go to their jobs. That’s insane.
“Businesses are losing significant revenue but the Ministry is being totally unresponsive.
“During the last lockdown, the process for determining essential business was run by MBIE. But the Government has inexplicably given this job to the Ministry of Health.
“The Ministry has received more than 10,300 applications for exemptions but has made decisions on just 1,900.
“How many officials are working on the several thousand remaining applications? Are they working weekends to clear the backlog? What’s the average wait time for an application?
“Meanwhile, the Government has created a bizarre exemption for Rocket Lab employees to be able to travel in order to scrub rockets.
“ACT has always maintained that businesses who can operate safely should be allowed to do so. The same goes for travel. Businesses shouldn’t have to fight the bureaucracy for several days just so their employees can travel a few kilometres across the Auckland boundary.
“The Health Minister needs to front up and tell New Zealanders what he is doing to reduce the level of bureaucracy facing local Auckland businesses.”