Luxon calls for Auckland's borders to go now

Source: 1News

National leader Christopher Luxon is calling for Auckland to be in the Orange level of the traffic light system and for its borders to go now.

Christopher Luxon.

His calls come after public health advice, contained in Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield's affidavit to the Waitangi Tribunal, said Auckland's borders should have been removed when the traffic light system was introduced.

"This is because there will be no public health justification to maintain a boundary around Auckland under the CPF (Covid Protection Framework). Put another way, the boundary around Auckland has served its purpose. It has been effective, alongside other public health measures, in greatly reducing the risk of the virus 'escaping' Auckland," Bloomfield said.

Aucklanders can leave the city if they are fully vaccinated or have a negative test result from December 15.

The affidavit also revealed, as detailed in the NZ Herald, the Ministry of Health had a preliminary view some regions should have entered the system at Green.

Northland, Auckland, Taupō and Rotorua Lakes Districts, Kawerau, Whakatāne, Ōpōtiki Districts, Gisborne District, Wairoa District, Rangitīkei, Whanganui and Ruapehu Districts are in Red.

The rest of the North Island and the whole of the South Island is at Orange.

The ministry's final recommendation to the Government was some regions should be placed in Orange, due to concerns from its assessment committee around low vaccination rates in some parts of the country and there being Covid-19 cases in several DHB areas outside of Auckland.

The ministry's recommendation was always for Auckland and Northland to enter at Red.

Auckland's Covid-19 border checkpoint.

The settings are being reviewed by Cabinet on Monday, followed by another review on January 17. Settings will then continue to be reviewed on a fortnightly basis.

Luxon told Breakfast the criteria around the traffic light system was "fundamentally flawed" and felt Bloomfield's points in the affidavit were "really important".

When visiting Auckland businesses last Friday, he had said the system "makes no sense" and that National doesn't support it.

Luxon told Breakfast Auckland should not be in Red because its health system was not facing an unsustainable number of hospitalisations, as the level denoted.

"What I’d say to you is after 110 days of Auckland being in lockdown, and the Prime Minister saying she’s going to follow the public health advice on these decisions, we’re in a place where Auckland could have slightly less restrictions than it currently has and I can tell you that’s great for people’s mental health having done it tough in Auckland."

Under Orange, the health system is seen as focusing resources, but managing.

He felt hospitality in Auckland was in for a "long, hard summer" under Red, so a move to Orange was in order.

"I think it’s something that the Prime Minister should be thinking about today which is 'can Auckland be released further?'

"If Auckland can be in Orange, let Auckland be in Orange."