South Islanders have 'had enough' of alert level 2 - Judith Collins

National leader Judith Collins says South Islanders have had enough and slammed the Government's decision to extend alert level 2 restrictions for the island another week.

It comes after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern signalled today in Dunedin an easing of restrictions next week - including bigger gatherings in Auckland and level 1 freedoms for the rest of the country - if cases continue to track down as they have been.

Judith Collins on the campaign trail yesterday. Photo: Getty Imaged
Judith Collins. Photo: Getty Images
New Zealand outside Auckland could move to alert to level 1 at 11.59pm on Monday next week if this is the case, with changes possible for Auckland on Wednesday at 11.59pm.

Modelling done for the Ministry of Health suggested a 25% chance of cases moving outside of the Auckland region, which supported keeping the rest of the country at level 2, Ardern said.

It only took one person travelling and attending a super-spreader event in another part of the country to spark a surge in cases, she added.

National Party Leader Judith Collins disagreed with the Government's approach saying alert level 2 had gone on too long outside of Auckland.

"Why is the South Island still at Level 2 when there hasn’t been a case recorded there since the end of May?

South Islanders were paying the price for an outbreak happening hundreds of kilometres north of them.

"South Islanders have put up with the inconvenience of restricted gatherings, cancelled sports fixtures and half empty businesses. They've had enough.

She said the response to the pandemic in March was sound, but the country was now in danger of using "a mallet to crack a nut" when it comes to handling Covid-19.

"For many under continued lock-down, far from the outbreak, the worst effects won’t come from the disease itself but the economic fall-out of how we handled it."

“The Prime Minister’s claims about the positive state of the economy do not line up with the number of people out of work and the even larger numbers who have retained work due to the wage subsidy.

“If Labour had a clear plan at the border, this outbreak could have been tracked and traced much earlier. 

Coalition cracks - Winston speaks out

Today's decision had majority support in Cabinet and followed the advice of director general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield, Ardern said.

But NZ First leader Winston Peters disagreed and invoked the "Agree to Disagree" provisions.

"The director general of health has stated that the Covid-19 outbreak in Auckland is contained. Additionally, he believes there is a low risk of transmission outside of Auckland," Peters said.

"New Zealand First notes that it will be around 120 days since the last community transmission or reported case – with the sole exception of the four Tokoroa cases, all linked to the Auckland cluster – outside of the Auckland region.

"Despite modelling suggesting a small risk of undetected cases outside Auckland, no evidence has yet emerged that this risk has been realised."

He said the economic costs were taking a toll, and people in the South Island were already in a level 1 mentality.

"Travelling around the South Island has reinforced that people are not observing social distancing in the absence of any registered or real threat of Covid-19 exposure since late April.

"Not because they are against the Government's Covid-19 response, but because they have applied their own 'common sense' test to their risk of exposure to the virus."

Ardern said it wasn't unusual for NZ First ministers to take a different view, and Peters' comments were being made in the context of an election campaign.

While not everyone will agree with today's decision, she said it was important that as many people as possible followed alert level rules.

Act leader David Seymour also disagreed with today's decision.

"The restrictions on the South Island are particularly harsh. There hasn't been any community transition there in the latest outbreak, but they've been unable to go about their daily lives."

"Many in the hospitality business are allowed to open but cannot make money doing so. It is death by two thousand cuts. A thousand last lockdown and another thousand now."

With NZ Herald

 

 

Comments

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Hi Judith, I'm from the South Island. I think we should do what the good Dr Bloomfield reccomends. I don't support the right wing mantra of short term profits above all else including our health, medium and long term profits.

I'm from the South Island too Judith and you don't speak for me either. I read quite a bit of foreign news and count myself a fortunate soul to live in a country such as ours where well being of the population has had priority over short term gain. Unlike the s***shows in the U.S. and U.K. whose missteps you would make here.

Science and logic exited the realm of decision making (for the South Island) in April.

Yes. We would have expected more dying.

How can one die from a virus which has not been in the South Island since April? An interesting concept.

It's because of science and logic in the Cabinet's decision making that we have not had Covid19 on the Mainland since April.
The alternative, of listening to profit driven business leaders would have been disastrous. You only have to look at Australia, or any other country that acted on selfishness and political expediency, rather than science and logic, to know that is true.

Judith Collins is now agreeing with Winston Peters.Has she read the ODT article where her deputy Gerry Brownlee said only 5 days ago on his visit to Dunedin that he agreed with areas outside Auckland remaining at Level 2.

How interesting that these comments comes out now from you Collins. When the PM says we are likely to go to level one, you question the PMs political motivation. If that is how you think then it says way more about your thought processes. You are not holding anyone to account with this, but you are exposing a very unsavoury side. I used to lean towards National until your party's' shenanigans; from a former leader who just had to drive from Tauranga to Wellington to shake hands with the press corp that you have since promoted, to some very shifty acts by less than stellar former MPs. Now you question the timing and motives of the PM and say she is too frightened to do anything and here you say we in the South have had enough.

I live in the Sth Island Judith. Please don’t speak for me, thankfully you don’t represent me. Our govt has made all decisions based on Ministry of Health advice, documented facts and scientific evidence, not on the financial benefit to hospitality or tourism businesses, which would very quickly disappear should we need to go back up a level. Surely the generous subsidies are sufficient to quell their ‘pain’ for a little while longer.

I'm from the south judith and you are correct, "Why is the South Island still at Level 2 when there hasn’t been a case recorded there since the end of May?".

Yeah, and the North Island had had no cases for over 100 days, and we still don't know how this new strain got into the country. Sadly there are people who don't care about protecting New Zealand, some who seem to even crave NZ being reinfected, and donald tRump and Co. who positively delight in New Zealand being reinfected.
Until all these right wing leaders around the world face reality and eliminate the virus NZ will not be safe, and that is not because of Jacinda Ardern, that's because of your heroes.

Because of science and logic. Clearly you would follow crusher down the gurgler, like the Aussies did, by making decisions based on emotions and greed.

Elect Third Choice Collins and watch the borders come down before lunch.
She does not care about people's health, it's all about business and stopping NZ making tRump look so bad.
Just look at the way the Ardern government has dealt with the highly suspicious outbreak and compare it with the response in Australia. 700 deaths in Aus, 2 in NZ.
It's all about Leadership.

W.h.a.t.! Only one person is required to transmit the virus from Auckland and the unfortunate recipient could become very ill.

Nothing wrong being in level two, thank you very much. Little stirrer.

Thanks for your input Judith, think we'll stay the course. One person on one flight and we would be no better off than Auckland. Clearly you've not been following the science behind the transmission.

South Islanders have had enough of Judith Collins.

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