Ardern gets ‘thumbs down’ over vax double standard

The Dairy and Business Owners Group is giving the government’s 90% double vaccination requirement to fully reopen a big thumbs down.

“For retail, hospitality and inner-city dairies this is absolute torture,” says Sunny Kaushal, Dairy and Business Owner’s Group chair.

“We have been asking for weeks for the business Resurgence Support Payment to become weekly for retail and hospitality who cannot trade anywhere near normal. We won that with the payment being doubled and moved to a fortnightly payment.

“The rub is that the first payment is three weeks away on 12 November.  We don’t understand why. This makes no sense as we’re running on fumes now.

“Businesses like mine face rent, power, gas and insurance costs with next to nothing coming in our front door. Like with the wage subsidy, for many businesses, this only offsets part of our costs.

“We must also ask what’s the difference between fully vaccinated, socially distanced people being served in a café by fully vaccinated staff versus Year 11, 12 and 13 pupils sitting in classrooms with schools reopening next week in Auckland?

“It is this double-standard, inconsistency and lack of a Covid passport right now, that is so depressing. People I know are in tears. The mental toll is crippling and I am afraid people will die.

“Our dairy members in the central cities, while able to trade are also struggling because there’s no life in the central city. There’s next to no foot traffic as there is no business activity and with today’s decision, no prospect of it. We still face a heavy criminal element that has not gone away.

“There’s a heap of fear that we’ll be stuck in a vaccination purgatory of ‘close but no cigar’ for this 90% double vaccination target.

“As not everyone who gets a first dose will get their second, the government is aiming for something that only the UAE has come close to. Even then, the UAE hasn’t cracked the 90% barrier whereas across the Tasman they are reopening.

“The updated business Resurgence Support Payment creates a suspicion that the government knows 90% won’t be reached for months. The same modellers behind a prediction of ‘early December,’ also said this lockdown would be short and sharp and we’d have at worst, 1,000 cases,” Mr Kaushal said.