“While people ask whether the Government will ‘let’ Auckland go to Alert Level 3 Step 3, a better approach is to cast off the Stockholm Syndrome and ask why hairdressers and hospitality should stay shut,” says ACT Leader David Seymour. 

“The restrictions are not there to help social cohesion. People follow the Government’s restrictions if they make sense. Now the system doesn’t make sense, and people are not following it. The right answer is to remove restrictions that don’t make sense and rebuild trust in the Government’s response.

“The restrictions are not there to help public health. It would be safer for people to go to hospitality venues that are supervised and following the law than unofficial parties that are now widely reported. It would be safer for people to go to salons than have illicit underground haircuts that are also reported.

“The restrictions are not there to protect an overwhelmed hospital system. Hospitalisation numbers are lower than anticipated and well under control, even after moving from Alert Level 4 to 3.1 to 3.2.

“The restrictions should not be kept while we await the traffic light system. If it’s coming with certainty, let’s make Step 3 part of the transition. If it’s uncertain, let’s have Step 3 while we wait.

“The restrictions are not protecting from out-of-control case numbers. Auckland case numbers have been stable for all of November, bouncing around the mid 100s for daily case numbers. 

“The restrictions are not a placeholder until vaccination rates get up. Auckland City is now 87 per cent fully vaccinated (eligible population) and 73 per cent fully vaccinated (total population). There is little scope for further vaccination with Auckland DHB being 96 per cent for first dose and all DHBs over 90 per cent.

“The only room for more vaccination is for 5-11 year olds to get their doses, and if that’s what we’re waiting for the Government should just say.

“If there is another reason to keep restrictions in place, the Government should simply say what they are, otherwise haircuts and hospo should be a go go."