Judith Collins calls for election to be delayed until November or next year

Source: 1News

National leader Judith Collins is calling for the election to be delayed following a new outbreak of Covid-19 in New Zealand.

Last night, four people were confirmed with Covid-19 - becoming the first people in just over 100 days to have contracted the virus from an unknown source in New Zealand.

Multiple workplaces connected to the South Auckland family have been shut down, with around 290 close contacts already confirmed.

The woman's workplace is a finance company in central Auckland while her husband's workplace is a cool store in the city's south.

Speaking to media today, Ms Collins said she wasn't notified of the new cases until 8.45pm - 30 minutes before Jacinda Ardern briefed the public.

She said she was disappointed at the Government's delay in informing her, as well as having community transmission at all.

And with the nation in various alert levels, she said it was "simply unsustainable" to go ahead with a September election.

The election date is so far set for September 19.

However, Ms Collins said “New Zealanders deserve better than wonder whether or not they can even vote on election day".

“We are calling on today, the Prime Minister to decide to, as she can without the need to bring back Parliament to discuss it or to vote on it, to shift out the election date until a date later in November,” she said.

“That would actually ensure whether or not we are actually able to vote properly and to campaign properly for that.”

Ms Collins said if the threat of Covid-19 was still there come November, that Ms Ardern should call back Parliament and by majority could have the election next year.

“We think that that is probably the better alternative,” she said.

"The fact that we now have a Covid-19 community outbreak that does not seem to have been able to be distinguished from any other outbreak, we can’t find the source of it, it tells us that we cannot necessarily be sure that there will be an ability to run a full election on election day this year."

Ms Collins said she would be writing to the prime minister today about her concerns.

“And the fact we have seen absolutely no transparency today, certainly no information to us on the health issues and no ability for us to be involved in any consultation on decision making.”

Ms Collins said National’s health spokesperson, Dr Shane Reti, had repeatedly tried to be in contact with Health Minister Chris Hipkins to no avail today.

“I want to express my disappointment that the country has ended up with this particular community transmission of Covid-19, the disappointment is that it’s occurred at all but this is also an opportunity for the Government to show the transparency that they have long talked about.”