Monday, 1 November 2021

If not now, then when for Auckland relief?

"The Prime Minister’s decision around alert levels today will be critical for Auckland retailers and the mental health of all Aucklanders,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Ardern should reactivate the forgotten ‘roadmap’ and move Auckland to Step 3 of Alert Level 3. If Ardern says this is too dangerous, is she serious about ever opening up?

“Step 3 would mean hairdressers could open with strict protocols, hospitality venues, like cafes, bars, and restaurants, can reopen with a limit of 50 people. The Government can decide whether many businesses collapse or stay afloat with this decision. 

“By yesterday, Auckland was at 91 per cent single and 80 per cent fully vaccinated. If it makes sense to move to the traffic light system when those second doses catch up with first doses in a few weeks, then it makes sense to start taking small steps towards reopening now.

“When I visited Auckland businesses last week I saw one small business operator after another doing their best to operate under current restrictions. For some, revenues are down 80 per cent. I heard that there are people borrowing from relatives, running up against their mortgages, and holding out paying suppliers to stay afloat.

“One woman told me that while she could have people over for a picnic, she wasn’t bothering because nobody does anything so there’s nothing to talk about. A haircut and a visit to the shops would lift spirits and give people a conversation starter.

“That ability to operate would make little difference to public health at this point, but a world of difference to the livelihoods of so many small businesses and the mental health of Aucklanders who have been lockdown down for what seems like an eternity.  
“Prime Minister is stuck in the Beehive where her advisors’ salaries are paid by the taxpayer every fortnight without fail. They simply can’t relate to what Aucklanders are facing.
“The Prime Minister needs to weigh the mental health business owners and all people when she preaches from the podium this afternoon.”