PM questioned on Covid, alert levels in Parliament

Author
Jason Walls, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 17 Feb 2021, 2:15PM

PM questioned on Covid, alert levels in Parliament

Author
Jason Walls, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 17 Feb 2021, 2:15PM

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will this afternoon face questions on the two new community Covid-19 cases, as well as her recent conversation with Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

She spoke briefly to media before sitting in the House for question time, where she will face a grilling from National leader Judith Collins.

Her time with media was significant – the two new community cases will throw a spanner in the works for Cabinet's meeting this afternoon to review the current Covid-19 alert levels in New Zealand.

Auckland was moved to alert level 3 at midnight on Sunday after three new Covid-19 cases were detected in the community. The rest of the country was put in alert level 2.

Speaking to the Health Select Committee this morning, Hipkins revealed health officials had found two new cases after mass testing.

One was a close contact of the Papatoetoe High School student, the other was their sibling.

Ardern will be questioned on this by reporters this afternoon. She is expected to be asked how the development will influence this afternoon's decision on the move down alert levels.

Another topic she will be quizzed on will be her conversation with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison this morning.

Yesterday, Ardern was highly critical of the Morrison administration's handling of the arrest of a dual Australian/ New Zealand citizen at the border of Syria and Turkey.

The Australian Government refused to take responsibility for the woman, who had two kids with her, and stripped her of her Australian citizenship.

Ardern said yesterday Australia did "not act in good faith" and what the Government had done was "not right".

"New Zealand, frankly, is tired of having Australia export its problems," she said.