Mike Hosking asks MP Chris Hipkins about the government’s response to the Delta outbreak.
Chris Hipkins and Newstalk ZB host Mike Hosking clashed over the government’s pandemic response strategy, with the minister insisting he believes the country can return to zero Covid cases.
In a single testimonial interview, Hipkins said the government will always try to use all tools and reduce the number of cases to zero.
This prompted Hosking to declare the government’s abolition strategy a waste of time.
Hosking said: “I admire your acting skills to be there with 45 yesterday and say elimination is still a goal, it’s good for you to have tried to play it but I mean no, I don’t believe in you either … nobody believes in you “,
“Look, we’re still aiming to go back to zero,” Hipkins replied.
“Chris, target whatever you want, that doesn’t work.” When are you going to wave the white flag and just let us continue? Hosking said.
“We are certainly not waving the white flag in a way that would make the situation worse,” Hipkins said.
“The best position for New Zealand is to continue to reduce these cases to zero.”
Hosking: “But when do you face reality. Go for zero, we’re at seven and a half weeks, it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work, how many weeks do you get to level 3 for Auckland want to keep, level 2 for the rest of the country, just to bring your experience to zero, what will never happen anyway? “
Hipkins responded that higher vaccination rates are needed if the country wants the freedom the Kiwis have wanted for 18 months.
Hosking said, “It’s not true… we haven’t had the freedom for 40 days and the rest of the world matters.
Hipkins said yesterday’s 45 cases are expected to increase whether Auckland is at Level 3 or 4.
Regarding 12 of those unrelated cases yesterday, Hipkins said that number has now dropped to six. The other six are still under investigation.
He said he expects a small number of Covid cases today, as only a “small amount” was identified yesterday afternoon, so it would depend on what was spilled overnight.
“I am somewhat reassured that most of yesterday’s cases were related, but a large number remains a large number.”
Where to get vaccinated in Auckland – without reservation
He acknowledged that there were hundreds and hundreds of people returning to work at Level 3, but that didn’t lead to sub-groups.
“Going from level 4 to level 3 didn’t make a big difference in terms of exposure.
“Even though they were at level 4, that doesn’t mean we wouldn’t have had a big day tomorrow.”
As to how long Auckland has had to stay at Level 3, Hipkins said if the Kiwis are to continue to be independent, they need fewer COVID cases and higher vaccination rates.
Singapore was now reimposing restrictions, and the heat of independence from Britain would soon be over, with almost all modeling showing it would end in lockdown.
He said New Zealand has different challenges and the government is unwilling to live with a large number of active cases in the community.
The higher the vaccination rate, the less likely it is that level four restrictions will be imposed.
Hipkins denied a more direct approach to the trial and relied on goodwill and that it “only works if people are willing to cooperate.”
Asked about gangs and the lack of cooperation in Clover Park yesterday – only nine out of 100 homes out of four streets tested – Hipkins said he would not rule out a more “direct” approach.
“We rely a lot on goodwill. Search and test contacts and it only works if people are willing to cooperate. “
Hipkins also said the liaisons get good cooperation from the gangs to carry out their activities.
As for the slow pace of injections, he said the government knew it would get to the point where demand would drop from the first dose to the second: “The first dose is less than what we need if we are to get these vaccines. . “For these high rates.
He said the reason for the slowdown was people under 35.
Regarding incentives, Hipkins said some were already available and he would not rule out nationwide incentives.