Pressure grows on Cabinet to review Alert Level 2

Last week Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern indicated that the current Alert Level 2 lockdown would not be reviewed until next Monday and Cabinet agreed that they would consider “no later than 22 June” whether to move to Alert Level 1 or not.

It is the Government’s view that we should also move as quickly as we safely can to alert level 1. On that basis, Cabinet will check in again on our settings on 8 June, and we’ve agreed that no later than 22 June, four weeks from today, we will consider then the move to alert level 1

…and I should add: this is based on the advice of the Director-General of Health, who supported these recommendations and made these recommendations.

25 May 2020

But there is increasing pressure to review the level move earlier, like when Cabinet meets today.

Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters had already broken ranks with the collective Cabinet decision, and Leader of the Opposition Todd Muller has also mildly pushed for a move back to most business as usual.

Yesterday’s Black Lives Matter protests where hundreds of people gathered in various places, contrary to Level 2 rules, ramped up calls for change.

So far Ardern has remained silent.

NZ Herald: Social distancing concerns as thousands attend protests

In Wellington one person went as far as temporarily tying himself to the fence of the US Embassy following a vigil attended by around 500 people.

Earlier in the day an estimated 4000 people gathered in central Auckland to attend the Black Lives Matter March for Solidarity. The group travelled from Aotea Square to the US Consulate General on Customs St.

Very little social distancing occurred at any of the main protests, prompting concerns from deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters, Act leader David Seymour David Seymour and microbiologist Dr Siouxsie Wiles about the risk of spreading Covid-19.

Despite constant calls from organisers for social distancing, people gathered close due to the sheer immensity of the crowd.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern declined to comment on the protests or on the death of George Floyd.

No sign yet of Ardern commenting on alert levels either. She will have to front up on this today publicly, and peters says that it must be discussed at today’s Cabinet meeting.

.RNZ – Winston Peters Peters: If protests condoned ‘why are we not at level 1?’

Cabinet meets today and Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters says alert level 2 restrictions have to be discussed.

Peters said the breaching of alert level 2 rules at the protests should have resulted in prosecution for the organisers.

And if they won’t be prosecuted, then there’s no choice but to move to alert level 1, he said.

“If they condone that and there’s no prosecution of the organisers of these two events then why are we not at alert level 1?”

“Why is this going on against the rules we’ve all agreed to?

“It’s a question for all of us. We cannot have rules where some people decide that they don’t wish to comply and there are no consequences.”

There have been no new Covid cases for the last ten days, and there is only one active case known about.

However there is also pressure from health people to continue with the lockdown.

Dr Siouxsie Wiles (@SiouxsieW:

“Absolutely gutted to see so many people joined the NZ BLM gatherings/marches without taking covid precautions. If you went today, please please please self isolate for the next 14 days. The last thing any of us want is to see a surge in cases.”

And epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker has been on RNZ this morning saying we should remain at Level 2 – he has recently been pushing for compulsory wearing of masks in public.

So this is shaping up to be a clash between health experts and Ardern versus Peters, Seymour, National and a lot of the public who seem to have already decided that Level 2 is too restrictive.


Ardern is being interviewed on RNZ.

“I understand the sentiment and  urgency” in protesting.

But “we have the rules there for a reason” but she says it is an operational matter for the police in how to deal with clear breaches of the rules “their call, not mine”. She appears to agree with the police approach to not try to restrict the protests.

Ardern certainly did nothing to criticise or condemn level 2 breaches by protests.

“We always want too keep under review” decisions on levels and Ardern suggests that Dr Bloomfield may have underestimated the success of the lockdowns.

Ardern has specifically committed to Cabinet reviewing the alert level next Monday 6 June. She indicates that we could go down to alert level one a couple of days after that if we continue to have no or few new cases.

So that’s a move by Ardern, but is it enough? A week of Covid restrictions is a long time for businesses already severely impacted by over two months of no or restricted activity. It’s also a long time for the public who have been moving on from restrictions before level changes have happened.

Another problem for Ardern and the Government – by saying she is bringing forward a decision on reducing the alert level by a week and indicating that if we continue with virtually no Covid cases then the Alert level is likely to drop in just over a week, the public are likely to continue to act as if we are already there.

RNZ: Cabinet to consider alert level 1 move on 8 June

It’s trickier for businesses who could get shut down for breaching the Level 2 rules. from what I’ve seen rules are not being strictly applied anyway. Are we already in a virtual Level 1 now anyway?

If protesters who have a good cause to promote can do as they please, why not the rest of us with causes of our own?

Businesses have a good cause – their survival.

The Government appears to have lost control.

 

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19 Comments

  1. Gezza

     /  2nd June 2020

    Ardern has specifically committed to Cabinet reviewing the alert level next Monday 6 June. She indicates that we could go down to alert level one a couple of days after that if we continue to have no or few new cases.

    So that’s a move by Ardern, but is it enough?

    Yes. They need to move quickly. The public has had enuf. They can at least invent some plausible-sounding reasons for putting it off for another week.

    Reply
  2. That was liked by a number of other political journalists.

    Reply
  3. Reply
  4. Reply
    • Gezza

       /  2nd June 2020

      Confusion abounds. Ardern definitely seems to have got the wind up.

      Reply
      • I wonder if she’s having cold sweats in the middle of the night..

        She seems to be edging away from responsibility; the lockdown now seems to have been Ashley’s doing, the government can’t possibly tell the rozzers what to do…but she was happy to take the praise and adulation for rhe lockdown.And tell the Old Bill and everyone else what to do….YOU MUST STAY HOME!!!

        Reply
        • oldlaker

           /  2nd June 2020

          Funny how in April Ardern told media that “If you spit or cough on someone deliberately, you WILL be arrested” but now she shrugs her shoulders and says policing 4000 rule breakers is nothing to do with her.
          She’s a slippery fish. I see David Fisher in the Herald has run pix of her and Ashley Bloomfield today not social distancing (after Matt King was reprimanded by the police for exactly the same thing…).
          She’s already blaming the fans for demanding selfies and hugs… she’s pretty shameless.

          Reply
  5. Jay3

     /  2nd June 2020

    So the much vaunted team of five million has disintegrated. It’s a fair bet that most of the protesters are Labour or Green supporters. Hilarious that Ardern has been done in by her own side. Not so funny for the people who have been making significant sacrifices during the lockdown and surely have little incentive now to listen to anymore of her incessant pontificating.

    Reply
  6. Alan Wilkinson

     /  2nd June 2020

    Unless they turn up a new community infection real soon the “experts” have lost all credibility and should be sacked forthwith.

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  2nd June 2020

      To put it plainly, it is way above 95% confidence level that their forecasts are crap.

      Reply
    • Gezza

       /  2nd June 2020

      God, Don’t say that! What am I gonna do with my bootload of I LOVE SIOUXSIE WALES T-shirts? 😮

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  2nd June 2020

        Hang on … might be able to sell them as suitable for scarecrows 🤔

        Reply

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