Monday, 20 April 2020

The right decision, too late

“The Prime Minister’s decision to lift the lockdown comes too late”, according to ACT Leader David Seymour.

“The fact that New Zealand will spend another week in lockdown is a clear-cut case of government failure with great costs for the private sector.

“Jacinda Ardern has said the COVID-19 transmission rate is now 0.48. So long as it's under 1, the virus is dying out. This shows the Government has actually been far too aggressive, at great economic and social cost.

“The delay is really because the Government has failed to bring its contact tracing abilities up to an adequate standard. It has nothing to do with extra certainty, because there's no indication that this decision could change if our test results deteriorate between now and Monday.

“We are spending an additional week in lockdown because the Government cannot do adequate contact tracing.

“The refusal to release Dr Ayesha Verrell’s report on contact tracing – rumoured to be damning – until the Government had presented its response suggested the report was very bad news. The Prime Minister’s snappy response yesterday to questioning about inadequate contact tracing capabilities, and cagey responses about the report today, all but confirmed the suspicion.

“ACT has always argued that government has a clear role to play and must play it well. In the context of public health, the role of Government is to produce services that nobody else can. In the context of COVID-19, it is to do good testing and contact tracing of cases so that the virus can be hunted without socially and economically devastating lockdowns.

“We do not necessarily blame the current Government Ministers for this failure. We do not know what role they’ve played in it. What we do know is that government should not expand to replace businesses bankrupted by its failure to do its core job properly.”