ACT says Govt 'unprepared' for Delta outbreak in NZ

Source: 1News

ACT Party leader David Seymour says the Government was "unprepared" for the current outbreak of the Covid-19 Delta variant in New Zealand.

Now polling eight per cent, David Seymour could be running a 10-strong caucus after the election.

His comments this morning come after Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins told Q+A with Jack Tame that Delta "does change the game a bit".

"It does mean that all of our existing protections start to look less adequate and less robust as a result of that," Hipkins said.

He added that the Delta variant does "raise some big questions we're going to have to grapple with".

In a statement following the interview, Seymour asked what the minister had been doing since Delta emerged around the world.

"Three weeks ago in Select Committee, Hipkins could not give one example of what the Government has done in response to the emergence of Delta," he said.

"Hipkins showed us this morning what a reactive Minister out of his depth looks like. We need a proactive response from Government so we're not put in this situation again.

"This is simply not good enough ... the Government has wallowed in dismissive complacency."

However, when question by Tame this morning, Hipkins said that the Government was "absolutely" prepared for Delta.

"I think just the scale of infectiousness and the speed of the spread of the virus, is still something that even despite all the best preparations in the world has put our system under strain, there's no question about that."

Hipkins also said this outbreak had more cases attend significant events than any other outbreak in New Zealand so far.

But he added the Government's quick moves to go straight to Alert Level 4 for the whole country means New Zealand is "very well placed to be able to run it to ground".

The Government announced Friday that New Zealand would remain at Alert Level 4 until 11.59pm Tuesday.

Hipkins said if he was an Aucklander, though, he would mentally prepare for a longer period in lockdown.