Judith Collins says election should be postponed

Author
Newstalk ZB / NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 12 Aug 2020, 9:20AM
Photo / File

Judith Collins says election should be postponed

Author
Newstalk ZB / NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 12 Aug 2020, 9:20AM

Judith Collins has called Jacinda Ardern this morning, asking for this morning's scheduled dissolution of Parliament to be delayed - as well as the election.

Election campaigning has now been put on hold.

The National party leader told Mike Hosking if the outbreak isn't contained immediately, the election should be postponed until later this year or early next year.

‘We just can’t go through a full general election based on postal ballots and things like that, it’s untenable."

Collins is putting the blame for the new cases of community transmission in Auckland squarely in the lap of the Government and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

Speaking to the Herald last night, Collins said she was "extremely disappointed" in the Government, given that Covid-19 has come back to New Zealand.

Asked if she was disappointed in the Government, she said yes.

"I am, like I'm sure the rest of the country is, extremely disappointed that this [Covid-19] has been allowed in through our borders."

Just over an hour before, Ardern had announced that as a result of four new cases of community transmission – all from the same family in South Auckland – the Super City will go into level 3 lockdown from 12 noon on Wednesday, until midnight Friday.

The rest of the county will move into level 2 over the same period.

"We're asking people in Auckland to stay home to stop the spread," Ardern said in an emergency press conference at the Beehive tonight.

But Collins was not impressed, given the fact she said New Zealanders have been told that the country was free of community transmission.

Sunday had marked 100 days since the last case of community transmission.

"We believed it had happened; this has clearly come through a border and must not be something that was homegrown in New Zealand.

"I have seen the Prime Minister tonight, who is leader of the Labour Party, in the middle of an election campaign, speaking about all this failure."

Collins was meant to be campaigning in Tauranga tomorrow and is staying in Auckland tonight.

But the Papakura MP is heading back down to Wellington tomorrow morning.

"It is important, in my opinion, that I be in Wellington so that I can actually undertake the role of the Leader of the Opposition – so that's what I'm planning to do."

In fact, when speaking to the Herald, Collins detailed parts of a call she had with Ardern earlier this evening.

"She [Ardern] said that the family [the new cases of Covid-19] have had to wait for retesting because of possible false positives."

Collins speculated that this meant the family would have been retested and found positive "some days ago".

But Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said that the Auckland man in his 50s was tested yesterday after having symptoms.

He had no history of overseas travel and was tested a second time today and both tests were positive.

Collins pushed back on any suggestion that she was politicising the situation.

"I would be accused of a dereliction of duty if I did not do my job as Leader of the Opposition.

"We clearly have a failure that is disappointing – I am actually so disappointed that we are not in a situation that we have been told we were in."