Decision to extend Covid-19 lockdown met with 'hearty debate' - Shane Jones

Source: 1News

The decision to lift New Zealand's lockdown next week to Alert Level 3 was met with a "hearty debate", but NZ First was "solidly behind" the Prime Minister's announcement, MP Shane Jones says. 

The Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones told TVNZ1's Q+A with Jack Tame the decision to extend Alert Level 4 by five days reflected the "broad" makeup of Cabinet. 

"We had to navigate the four weeks (of lockdown) with integrity, I was very keen for us to make a move to Level 3," he said. 

Mr Jones said "what happens in Cabinet is tapu", however he revealed the decision entailed "a hearty debate, but we’re solidly behind what the Prime Minister announced [Monday] afternoon". 

When asked by Tame of the "shovel ready" infrastructure projects that are set to start to help the economy recover from the effects of Covid-19, Mr Jones said there would be long term projects, but suspected they would need to "go through the maturation process of a election campaign". 

He said Cabinet decisions would be "driven by short term initially to offer relief ... I want to direct my attention to the areas there are a genuine market failure". 

"Kiwis want short term mitigation steps to give them confidence."

On the decision to shift the Port of Auckland, Mr Jones said neither he or NZ First leader Winston Peters had "lost our zest to relocate the port".