“New Zealanders will be asking themselves why the Government is maintaining the current COVID-19 restrictions now that 9 in 10 adults are fully-vaccinated,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Jacinda Ardern promised New Zealanders fewer restrictions once we got to 90 per cent double dose.

“Now we’re here, but the Government is determined to keep the country in unnecessarily restrictive traffic light settings.

“On Monday, the Prime Minister couldn’t explain why Auckland will be any more ready in a few weeks to move to Orange than it is today, because there is no logical reason for it.

“The conditions are right now. The Government’s traffic light system says a region will be in Red when the health system faces an ‘unsustainable number of hospitalisations.’

“It’s clear the health system isn’t being overwhelmed right now.

“There is no reason for the South Island to be in Orange.

“The next two weeks will cost people all over Auckland and other regions at Red because the Prime Minister doesn’t want the tiny risk she’ll have to reverse her decision.

“She’s chosen to knock off early and put the COVID-19 response on autopilot for a month instead of balancing the different needs of New Zealanders in real time.

“Moving to Orange would remove the venue size limits that are killing so much activity in Auckland and other regions in Red. Hospitality, events, even weddings and funerals are being severely limited by Orange.

“Jacinda says we need time for the traffic light system to ‘bed in’ and ‘go through a full transmission cycle’. She just makes it up as she goes along.

“What’s the point in having criteria if you’re not going to follow it?

“Aucklanders have been through enough. It’s one of the most vaccinated cities in the world. We should let Aucklanders enjoy the freedom of Orange for Christmas.”