“The Prime Minister needs to explain to New Zealanders how much an extra week in lockdown reduces the risk of COVID-19 breaking out,” according to ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Today in Parliament, the Prime Minister repeatedly said that we are staying at Alert Level 3 to avoid the risk of outbreaks that force us back into lockdown again.

“At this point in the COVID-19 crisis, it’s no longer good enough simply to say that the Government is balancing health and economic risks. The public deserves to know how it is balancing the risks.

“This morning, I asked the Director-General of Health what evidence he would need to see before advising the Government go to Alert Level 2. He did not answer the question, giving only the truism that the Ministry of Health would consider the number and source of new cases.

“Altogether, the Government either doesn’t know or won’t say how it intends to make the decision to move from Alert Level 3 to Alert Level 2. Openness and transparency are essential for businesspeople trying to make decisions. Why can’t the Government simply say ‘here are the case numbers we need to see before making a decision’?

“In the absence of transparency, it’s difficult to avoid the suspicion the Government either doesn’t know how to decide, or has decided it would be politically convenient for the Budget to be released in the warm glow of fresh freedoms.”