COVID-19: Clarke Gayford defends govt decision to wait to announce alert level changes

Clarke Gayford took to Twitter to explain why the Government waited until Friday to announce any alert level change.
Clarke Gayford took to Twitter to explain why the Government waited until Friday to announce any alert level change. Photo credit: The Project / Getty Images

Clarke Gayford is defending the Government's decision to wait until Friday morning to announce any changes to New Zealand's COVID-19 alert level settings. 

Cabinet met on Thursday to decide on whether Auckland will move down to alert level 1, yet the public has to wait almost a day to find out what that decision was. 

This wait prompted criticism from the National Party and hospitality businesses anxious to open for the weekend.

Wellington Chef Martin Bosely took to social media to express his disappointment for suffering Auckland hospitality businesses. 

"Feeling really sorry for all Auckland hospo having to wait until 11.30am today to find out about moving levels," he wrote on Twitter.

"It’s utterly ludicrous. Stay strong, my friends. Keep the faith."

Gayford replying to Bosely's Tweet saying: "Martin an in-principle decision was decided but it's all pending on final test results today."

Some Twitter users responded to Gayford saying it wasn't "his place to be making comment." 

"He is not part of cabinet and should not be privy to cabinet decisions."

While others defended the Prime Minister's fiance, saying he was simply sharing information that was already widely available to the public. 

"He hasn't said what the decision actually is. He's just repeated what we already know i.e. that Cabinet made a decision last night and will consider updated data today before the presser at 11.30am," one user wrote. 

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins explained that while ministers may meet to discuss the levels, that doesn't mean a final decision is being made. 

"It is not necessarily about making a final decision at this point," Hipkins said. "It is about making sure that we have all of the right information, that everything is being followed-up, that if there are any additional issues that people need information on before that final button gets pushed, that we have that. We will make an announcement as soon as we are able to."

National Party leader Judith Collins says the wait is "not good enough." 

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government has stressed that alert level decisions are made based on the latest information to hand and the Director-General of Health's advice.