Auckland's COVID-19 outbreak 'should never have been allowed to happen' - Judith Collins

Opposition leader Judith Collins wants the Prime Minister to release the data that influenced her decision to extend the alert levels, and says Auckland's outbreak "should never have been allowed to happen". 

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday Auckland will remain under alert level 3 until Sunday while the rest of New Zealand will stay at alert level 2 - a decision described by the Restaurant Association as a "blow" to hospitality. 

Collins responded to the Prime Minister's decision on Monday by challenging her to release the data that informed her decision - information neither her nor National's health spokesperson Dr Shane Reti have been given. 

"We don't have the information she's worked off and I presume that she will have public health information and a recommendation for that," Collins said. 

"Dr Shane Reti hasn't had his briefing today that we would've expected so we're just having to accept that the Prime Minister has the best advice."

Collins said she feels for businesses in Auckland that are already struggling. 

"There are a lot of people who are today wondering whether or not they'll have a job next week and there are a lot of businesses who are wondering just how tough this is going to get and how often they're going to be in and out of lockdown."

She said the outbreak in Auckland should never have happened. 

"I think the whole situation should never have been allowed to happen in the first place... What we've seen is that the border policy that the Government had in place has failed."

The Government has been grappling with Newshub's revelation that the week before Auckland's outbreak more than 60 percent of all border-facing workers in the city had never been tested, falling well short of its testing strategy.   

The Government has since made testing of border-facing workers mandatory and has ramped up security at managed isolation facilities, deploying 500 additional Defence Force personnel and trialling new contact tracing technology. 

"I wouldn't have allowed the mess that's been at the border for a start and I think that's really important," Collins said. 

"I think it's important for the Prime Minister to release the information that she has - the public health information and the advice she has - so that the public can see on what basis she's made that decision." 

The Ministry of Health on Monday reported seven confirmed cases and one probable case of COVID-19, one of which had contact with another confirmed case on bus transport.

Ardern said given the recent transmission on this form of public transport, Cabinet decided to move to mandate the wearing of face coverings on public transport and Ubers under alert level 2 and above.

Collins said she supported the decision, describing it as "pretty obvious". 

Restaurant Association CEO Marisa Bidois said closure for another full weekend, which is key trading days for hospitality, is "another blow" to the industry. 

"Keeping the rest of the country at level 2 also seems an unnecessary measure given where the current clusters are. We are currently looking at a closure rate of between 10 and 12 percent of all hospitality businesses as a result of the restrictions," she said. 

"The majority of our industry is made up of small owner-operator businesses that cannot sustain these ongoing closures and restrictions. Quite simply, there will be at least 10 per cent of our industry closed which translates to around 13,000 jobs rising if these restrictions continue."

Ardern said despite the majority of COVID-19 cases being in Auckland, the rest of the country needs to remain under alert level 2 because of regional travel and the risk of the virus spreading unknowingly to other parts of New Zealand.

You can read more about Ardern's decision here.