PM on what farmers can expect from Budget 2020

Author
The Country,
Publish Date
Wed, 13 May 2020, 2:40PM
PM Jacinda Ardern. (Photo / NZ Herald)

PM on what farmers can expect from Budget 2020

Author
The Country,
Publish Date
Wed, 13 May 2020, 2:40PM

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern admits that the Government's limit on funeral numbers is a "sticking point for lots of people".

Under the rules of alert level 2 only 10 people can gather socially, whether at a wedding, funeral or a party.

However, large venues such as cinemas and restaurants can take more than 10 people, provided they are not seated close to other group.

Today on The Country, Ardern told Jamie Mackay the decision had been difficult.

"The hardest part, I think, of this whole period has been asking people - at a time when they all want to come together - not to come together, and that's been really, really tough."

Mackay asked if Ardern was "defending the indefensible" by telling people not to hug each other at a funeral, while opening bars and allowing rugby games to take place.

"We've tried to be utterly consistent and so [there's] no one going out in more than groups of 10 at the moment, because that socialising, those spaces - weddings - that's where we had two outbreaks, a mix and mingle after a conference, we had an outbreak, a social event attached to a school, we had an outbreak ... and overseas there have been outbreaks in funerals. So times we come together has that risk attached to them.

UPDATE: Govt backs down on funeral rules - up to 50 people allowed

Asked about Winston Peter's clash with China after he backed Taiwan's membership of the World Health Organisation, Ardern said the Government's view on China and Taiwan has not changed. 

"When it comes to learning from Covid, we should look to those places that have had success, and I would definitely include Taiwan on that list. Equally, we have looked to China for the fact we learnt from them the lockdown.

"For us, it's about learning from one another. That doesn't change our policy honour 'One China' policy." 

Meanwhile, Budget 2020 will be announced tomorrow, and Mackay said farmers were keen to hear whether the Government will invest in water storage.

Although water infrastructure had been a "significant area of under-investment over a number of years", Ardern said Covid-19 had changed the priorities of this year's Budget and did not confirm if water storage was going to be funded.

"This is a rebuild project now and the Budget is not the only piece of the puzzle for our rebuild. It is a big part of it, but only the beginning. So if you don't see it as a complete list, that's because it's not trying to be. There will be an ongoing programme of work out of the Government as part of our recovery from Covid."