Wednesday, 26 August 2020

Unprecedented drop in incomes shows lockdowns unsustainable


“Today’s unprecedented fall in earnings shows that the Government’s strategy of locking the country down while it fumbles at the border and with contact tracing is totally unsustainable,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

Median weekly incomes were down 7.6 percent in the June 2020 quarter, with more New Zealanders unable to work and on welfare. Earnings for self-employed people were down 12.5 percent, more than the 8.6 percent drop following the GFC.

“The Government likes to say that the best economic response is a strong health response, but we really need a smart health response.

“Being free of Covid-19 is one dimension of wellbeing. We also have to consider students’ one shot at life-defining exams, the mental health of small business owners, non-Covid healthcare such as missed elective surgeries, $1 billion in lost output, and the uncertainty for households and businesses.

“It didn’t have to be like this, and there is a better way.

“ACT’s Wellbeing Approach would weigh up all of the costs and benefits of human welfare on each choice the Government makes. We would reduce costs and uncertainty and make the elimination strategy affordable.

“Taiwan is the clear winner on a wellbeing basis. That country grew by 1.54% in the first quarter of 2020. That would be an excellent result in New Zealand even without a pandemic.

ACT’s policy is:

• New Zealand Epidemic Response Unit: Based on Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Centre
• Government as referee, not player: Allow alternative facilities for safe, electronically-monitored isolation, with strict punishment for rule-breakers
• Risk-weighted: Treat different countries and travellers with different levels of caution
• Technology-driven: Such as COVID card, ëlarm, rapid tests, temperature checks and thermal cameras
• Continuous improvement: Constantly compare ourselves with the best and seek to strengthen our resistance.

“If we want to enhance New Zealanders’ overall wellbeing, we must get a lot smarter. If we take a broad-based approach, and remain aware of all aspects of wellbeing, then we will be truly better off in every sense. A Party Vote for ACT is a vote to tackle Covid-19 intelligently.”