New Zealand has hit an significant landmark in the battle against coronavirus: 100 days without the disease being transmitted to the population.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, on the campaign trail ahead of the September 19 election, welcomed Sunday’s “important” achievement, but cautioned Kiwis that it will not avoid potential outbreaks. New Zealand has hit a major milestone in its battle against coronavirus: 100 days without the disease being spread by the population.
On the campaign trail ahead of the September 19 poll, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern welcomed Sunday’s “significant” point, but warned Kiwis that it would not prevent future outbreaks.
“I don’t believe there is any other country that has had COVID, come into our position, and sustained it away from our borders for that period of time,” she said.
“But it actually doesn’t lessen any of the risks.
“That’s daily as long as we are continuing to exist in a world where this pandemic is growing.
“We are still having to manage our borders very very carefully … we still have to be vigilant.”
Free from COVID limits on travel or meetings for two months, life for New Zealanders has returned to normal, aside from strong border controls.
Kiwis has given Ms Ardern top marks for her government’s response to the pandemic, enjoying record popularity following the difficult but effective lockdown that removed COVID-19 and enabled the domestic economy to reopen.
The 40-year-old spent the morning at Grey Lynn in her electorate in Mount Albert, attending a farmers’ market and speaking with shoppers on Sunday.
The Labor leader said that it was “really heartening to hear business has picked back up” for stallholders, mentioning the “ingenuity” of companies that had changed their operations due to the pandemic.
She warned voters at the start of the campaign Saturday to expect a “COVID election campaign” revolving around the devastated economy of the country.
Admitting that previous plans are out of the window, Ms Ardern said that all the time the six-week campaign would be COVID.
“No one wants it this way,” she said.
“It’s more an acceptance that naturally, that is how this will turn out to be.
“Of course we all had plans for a very different election campaign but the reality is, this is the biggest challenge that New Zealand will face for decades to come.
“It’s only right that we talk about our plan to respond, recover and rebuild.”
Labour launched the first policy of the campaign on Saturday, a $NZ311 million ($A287 million) scheme that will see bonuses paid to businesses hiring out-of-work Kiwis.