Q’town conference following guidelines ‘to the letter’

Health Minister Chris Hipkins. Photo: RNZ
Health Minister Chris Hipkins. Photo: RNZ
A conference industry executive has hit back at Health Minister Chris Hipkins’ suggestions Aucklanders should not be going to Queenstown for business conferences.

Yesterday, Mr Hipkins said he was not comfortable with Aucklanders travelling to conferences in Queenstown and called on the city's residents to "do the right thing".

His comments came after the Otago Daily Times revealed a conference to be held in Queenstown — which includes Aucklanders as guests — was going ahead despite calls for travelling Aucklanders to avoid mass gatherings.

Conventions & Incentives New Zealand chief executive Lisa Hopkins said the business events Mr Hipkins was referring to were "the most managed and controlled type of assembly you can find".

"Everyone who attends a business event is invited, so you know who they are. They are usually registering for that event.

"So you automatically, before they even walk in the room, have started the process around track and tracing."

She said the Ministry of Health had been good at giving guidelines on how venues needed to be set up for business events — something her industry was "following to the letter".

"To ensure every type of event is as safe as it possibly can be, and potentially a lot safer than walking through a shopping mall," Ms Hopkins said.

"We would encourage the minster to speak to the industry first of all and understand all the various steps that we are putting in place to safeguard New Zealanders."

The event in question is the Morgo conference, due to run at a hotel in Queenstown today and tomorrow. While it is within the rules, it has also prompted concerns from prominent epidemiologist Michael Baker.

Mr Hipkins also said yesterday he was asking Aucklanders to continue to take their alert level restrictions with them.

Organiser Jenny Morel said her event was following all the protocols for an event at Level 2 — "a massive amount of work for everyone".

"Our reading of the Covid website is that people could attend an event like this in Auckland, so [we] don’t see why they can’t attend one here."

She would not say how many Aucklanders were attending.



"Q’town conference following guidelines ‘to the letter’", says this govt who likes to paint everything they say as rosy when not everything is, how many breaches of the border were there despite the army being called in?, do they know who or what brought in the last "case" yet?.



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