Staying at Level 2 having ‘deep, irrevocable impact’

National's South Island MPs have joined forces to ask Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to explain why the island is at Covid-19 Alert Level 2.

There has not been a case of the pandemic disease in the South Island for almost a year, although several clusters from the first wave of the disease originated in the South.

The current outbreak is of the highly transmissible Delta strain of the coronavirus, and Ms Ardern has previously said the Level 2 restriction was in place to keep the South Island safe.

Invercargill MP Penny Simmonds said she and her eight southern colleagues believed the island staying at Level 2 was having a ‘‘deep and irrevocable impact’’ on people and would inevitably force more businesses to close.

“I know that the continuation of Level 2 is placing a huge strain on many Southland businesses, with some reaching breaking point and at least three in Invercargill closing down.

“Fifteen thousand jobs across Southland claimed the wage subsidy during the August lockdown, according to the Ministry of Social Development, an indication of how widespread the pain in this area was.’’

On Wednesday, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said there had been examples of Aucklanders who had defied the recently lifted Alert Level 4 lockdown and who had travelled to the South Island.

The risk someone else could do so and bring Covid-19 with them justified the South Island retaining the added precautions afforded at Alert Level 2, he said.

Ms Simmonds said the Government’s continued focus on Auckland meant little consideration was being given to communities and businesses in the South which were also doing it hard.

"A business owner in the hospitality sector said, even with this week’s increase in dining numbers to 100, people were keeping their wallets shut because of the economic uncertainty that Level 2 created.

“Until we are free of Level 2, I believe very little will change for small-business owners in Southland."



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Do they have a public mandate?

Who?, the govt?, no they don't.

If by "they" you mean the government, then yes they do. It's called a landslide election result.

So much emphasis going on Auckland and no mention about South Island with businesses still suffering. I am surprised the government are allowed to spin their pessimistic views so easily and not get pressed on their figures.
Its as if they do not care and don’t mention South Island….more votes in Auckland I guess.

It amazes me that the Deep South keeps these political dinosaurs as their elected representatives. In a time of a pandemic, the worst the world has seen for over a century, they see political capital in stirring up controversy by fear mongering and pointless emotional rhetoric. History will look at these people with incredulity, in the same way we look at the witch burners of the past.
The govt is not making these decisions on grounds of political expediency. They are making it on the best scientific evidence available and it’s working. Why have the been no cases of COVID in the south, because the govt has been following science. Has that had a negative impact on businesses, yes, it has for some but in the main these are businesses who have hung out waiting for a return to the old normal. These politicians would do better supporting these businesses at looking at ways of adapting to the new normal, not raising false hopes for simple political point scoring.
Their descendants will be ashamed of them.

As this isn't the first time I've seen you mention businesses, Covid and adaptation to the new norm. Can I ask? Have you ever been in business, owned and or operated a business even just something as simple as Sole Trading?

Me thinks thou dost protest too much!
"If you haven’t worked hard at questioning everything, you are definitely NOT working hard enough to know anything." Frank Zappa

Delta doesn't care about our human imposed borders, if people are crossing them then we are at risk. The guy who recently went to Christchurch from Auckland? Imagine if they'd had covid and we were at level 1, it could be disastrous. Pull your heads in and think about human lives and not just money for once.

Ird, so on point.

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