The decision for New Zealand to stay locked down in Level 4 shows the Government hasn’t done the groundwork required to have us ready, Opposition Leader Simon Bridges says.
“The public has done a great job of self-isolating and social distancing. The entire country has made huge sacrifices to ensure the four week lockdown was effective.
“Unfortunately the Government hasn’t done enough and isn’t ready by its own standards and rhetoric. New Zealand is being held back because the Government has not used this time to ensure best practice of testing and tracing and the availability of PPE hasn’t been at the standard it should have been.
“The rate of testing for the first half of lockdown was low, work has only just begun on surveillance testing to confirm whether community transmission is occurring. Tracing is the biggest challenge and experts have identified major shortcomings in the methods being used by the Government.
“This is a real shame as businesses will suffer further damage and that will lead to poor health outcomes as a result of the huge stress this will cause for a lot of people.
“Rapid and easily accessible testing for workers with symptoms will be essential to give small businesses the confidence needed to get back to work.
“I’m sure many Kiwis feel frustration that we still can’t do many things Australians have done through the entire lockdown period, at great cost in terms of jobs and livelihoods, with similar health outcomes.
“I now worry that the harm of staying in lockdown will be greater than if we were to come out. We will no doubt see a rise in mental health problems and stress related illnesses.
“I also have real concerns about the delay in healthcare for some people, like cancer treatment, screening and thousands of operations across the country.
“New Zealanders can be proud of the sacrifices they have made during this difficult time. The Government must now move as fast as it can to sort out the issues with tracing, testing and PPE so we can get our country moving again.”