Auckland Mayor Phil Goff says that most Aucklanders, while not liking the extension of Alert Level 4 in the city, would understand the necessity for it.
“The delta variant is highly contagious and spreads rapidly,” he says.
“We know from Sydney’s experience that unless lockdowns are swiftly implemented, are strong and well supported, the pandemic quickly gets out of control.
“We all want to get back to life as normal as quickly as possible, but for that to happen the lockdown has to stay in place until the spread of the virus has been suppressed.
“The alternative is allowing huge numbers of people to become unwell, sometimes with lasting consequences, people to die in their hundreds and our hospitals and intensive care units to be overwhelmed.
“We celebrate the fact that most of the rest of the country can move back to Level 3 on Wednesday.
“However, as the Prime Minister has acknowledged, as the gateway city to New Zealand with most of the country’s quarantine facilities, Auckland has carried the burden for much of the country.
“Auckland has already over the last 18 months been at higher lockdown levels than the rest of the country, and this will continue.
“Because we live in the gateway city, Aucklanders are more vulnerable and at greater risk.
“It will be important for the government to take all the steps that it can to help the region, one third of the country’s population, to meet the costs of the lockdown.
“We acknowledge that ongoing support such as through the wage subsidy will be important. We ask the government to consider support for Auckland Transport which is losing over $4 million a week to provide essential services with only 6 per cent of its normal fare take.
“But most important will be to ensure that maximum vaccinations are done over the next month while the city is at a high alert level.
“It is critically important that people are better protected against the virus and to reduce the risks of the disease reoccurring in the region and spreading across the country,” Mayor Goff says.