Government scrambles to save summer event vaccine carrot

Sun, 24 Oct, 2021

“The Government is now scrambling to erect a major events insurance scheme, with reports of MBIE seeking advice from Wellington brokers over the past week,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Jacinda Ardern has promised youth summer events as a vaccination carrot when she said ‘if you want summer… If you want to go to a concert, or a festival – get vaccinated.’ The problem is Friday’s complicated scheme creates so much uncertainty there may not be any concerts or festivals.

“Instead of a clear timeline for reopening, the Prime Minister’s plan depends on people in 21 DHBs getting vaccinated to 90 per cent. It has created huge uncertainty about when the thresholds will be reached, and the new traffic light system will actually be in place.

“ACT understands many festivals that have not already cancelled are on tenterhooks, and Ardern’s unclear plan released Friday has made the situation worse. More cancellations are expected over the next two weeks.

“Hospitality businesses know they can open at some point, if they can stay solvent long enough to get across no man’s land. Major events must make commitments months ahead of time if they’re going to open.

“Event organisers have to commit not only to entertainers, but to tradies, portaloo hirers, temporary fence companies, and on it goes. They are used to taking big risks, but the Government is pushing them over the limit.

“ACT has long said the Government should underwrite a Major Events Insurance Fund to insure event promoters against loses specific to COVID restrictions. That would give them the ability to plan under Government-created uncertainty.

“We are now hearing the Government is belatedly trying to get some sort of insurance up and running, they should just come clean and announce it, before there are no events going whether you’re vaccinated or not."