Will Alert Levels change today? National MP's 'big call' on level 3

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Wed, 17 Feb 2021, 10:44AM
(Photo / NZ Herald)
(Photo / NZ Herald)

Will Alert Levels change today? National MP's 'big call' on level 3

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Wed, 17 Feb 2021, 10:44AM

Cabinet is preparing for a very difficult decision today over whether to extend Auckland's lockdown.

Ministers will meet at 3pm and Jacinda Ardern is expected to make an announcement on Alert Levels at 4.30 this afternoon.

A senior National MP says he would keep Auckland in level-3 lockdown if the Government still does not know the source of the latest Covid community cases and if there's uncertainty over close contacts.

"If you don't know the source and you're not confident all close contacts have been tested and come back negative then in my view you're forced to stay in level 3," National MP Mark Mitchell told Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking today.

Cabinet Minister Stuart Nash, on air with Mitchell and Hosking, described that as a "big call".

Nash, who will be sitting around the Cabinet table from 3pm today to help decide the fate of level 3 in Auckland and level 2 in the rest of New Zealand, said: "What I would do is I'd go to Cabinet, have a look at all the data, and I'd seek the wise counsel of that Cabinet. We all represent different interests and sectors, and as small business minister I will be taking a hard look at these to say okay do we have the confidence to actually move down a level?"

The debate follows news that there have been no new positive Covid cases overnight, hours ahead of Cabinet's decision.

Pushed by Hosking on the fact the source might never be known - and not known by the end of today - Mitchell said: "I said combined with the fact that all the close contacts must be tested and come back negative, so that we're confident there's been no community spread. The reality is we have made huge sacrifices as a country over the last 12 months. We'd be foolish to start taking risks now in terms of all the gains and sacrifices that have been made."

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