“Today’s a great opportunity for Jacinda Ardern to show some leadership, by giving clear commitments on borders, boosters, and Freedom Day,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.
“The Prime Minister should set out what will happen and when, then state clearly if there are any scenarios that could get in the way.
“Over the past three weeks the Prime Minister and her ministers have given impossibly mixed messages on Freedom Day.
“On October 22 Jacinda announced there would need to be ‘90 per cent fully vaccinated target set across each DHB region before the rest of the country moves into the new system.’
“However, by November 8, Jacinda said maybe Auckland would move without reaching the 90 per cent target ‘…there is a strong expectation that Auckland will move into the Covid-19 protection framework, following [a] November 29 check in.’ That made some sense as Auckland’s DHBs will likely meet the target by the end of the month anyway.
“Four days later on November 12, Newsroom interviewed Jacinda and reported that the whole country might move before reaching the target, ‘Ardern didn’t rule out moving the whole country into the framework, despite the fact many DHBs won’t be at a 90% vaccination rate.’
“This morning Grant Robertson seemed to confirm that we don’t need to reach the target, saying on Newstalk ZB that ‘we want to get people as close to 90 per cent as we possibly can.’ Some people would take that as meaning Freedom Day is coming, except…
“Over the weekend Andrew Little said ‘You might have misunderstood what the Prime Minister has been saying. [Freedom Day] won't be introduced from the 29th of November.’
“Today is a great opportunity for the Prime Minister to show leadership about WHEN New Zealand will move, and what if any exceptions should be made. It would make more sense to close off Northland than to keep the highly vaccinated Auckland bordered off.
“What we need is certainty. Cabinet is the perfect time for Ardern, Robertson, Hipkins and Little to finally get on the same page. Decide what is happening, try to agree with each other and communicate it clearly and definitively to all New Zealanders.
“While they’re there, they should also state what New Zealand’s position is on boosters. They need to answer the simple question: After how many months will boosters be available, and after how many months will they be deemed essential? Put another way, what is the booster window?
“There is no reason not to answer such a question, if the Government can’t it should say why."