“One year from the Delta outbreak, New Zealand is ‘leading’ the Anglosphere for COVID cases and death rates, and Jacinda Ardern’s abundance of caution has been replaced by an abundance of social and economic costs - but she’s nowhere to be seen,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“The main impact of Labour’s mismanagement is that New Zealanders are now voting with their feet. The young are hightailing it out of a country that’s been grossly mismanaged. A 20-year trend of attracting net 30,000 people per year has been reversed to a loss of 10,000 people.

“This time last year we saw the Prime Minister appearing daily to drip feed public data on the COVID pandemic in New Zealand. Today, the questions mount up regarding our Government’s COVID response but Jacinda is invisible on the issues that count.

“This day last year New Zealanders awoke to Alert Level 4, and Auckland would remain locked down until the traffic light system was introduced 106 days later. The costs of this and previous lockdowns are diverse and deep.

“Children’s learning has suffered so badly the NZQA is giving out free credits. Some have resorted to ram raiding and criminal activity. The Government’s books are in a catastrophic state with Core Crown debt forecast to triple over the five years. Monetary Policy has been totally perverted, leading to the Reserve Bank releasing a bizarre 13 page mea culpa this morning.

“We were told we needed to sacrifice out of an abundance of caution. We were really sacrificing because the Government was ill prepared for COVID 18 months after it first reached our shores.

“Every aspect of the Government’s management was a failure. Tracing never worked once Delta hit. Testing blew up as soon as lockdowns lifted and numbers rose. Vaccine ordering and roll out was horrifically slow. The Government has never explained or apologised for any of this.

“One year on, the Prime Minister should front and apologise for a year of mismanagement that has cost all New Zealanders and sent some packing for greener pastures.”

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David Seymour