Bordering on the ridiculous (timeline) - The beginning
Posted: 09-Sep-2021 |

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern moved the country outside of Auckland to ‘Delta level 2’ from midnight on Tuesday, and a tweaked iteration was introduced with extra masking and 2-metre distancing in most public venues. On top of this the Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield announced that managed isolation and quarantine staff will be tested twice a week while essential workers crossing the border will need to prove they have had a test in the past week. 

But is regular testing of truck drivers essential? In their release, the RTF said they were ‘frustrated by policy from the podium’.

“The Road Transport Forum (RTF) was once again frustrated to find out via media today that the Government plans to proceed with testing essential freight workers crossing Auckland’s Level 4 borders,” says chief executive Nick Leggett.

“The ink was only drying on the letter we sent Transport Minister Michael Wood on Friday saying: ‘I am writing to you to inform you of the road freight transport industry’s concern, dismay, and disappointment about comments Dr Ashley Bloomfield made at yesterday’s Prime Minister’s 1pm press conference,’ and we’ve been blindsided again today. Instead of apologising, they’ve doubled-down.

“I didn’t watch the press conference but the media reports say the Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson said ‘discussions were happening with the transport industry on screening at Auckland’s boundary’.

“This is the first we have heard of such discussions and we represent a fair chunk of the road freight transport industry. Those operators told us last week how angry they were to hear the Government making such calls without any engagement with the industry.

“We are already concerned that the Government doesn’t fully understand the practical realities of the supply chain, and their thinking out loud, without consulting or discussing, is causing serious stress and harm to the freight industry. I don’t know if they know this, but business is very difficult under Covid-19 rules.

“Such plans threaten the viability of the supply chain at a time when for most New Zealanders, it is critical that it works like the well-oiled machine it is, without politicians and health officials from Wellington interfering.

“We have been very frank in our letter to Minister Wood and after getting the double blindside today we asked officials what was happening. They said consultation is supposed to begin tomorrow.

“This Government seems to have zero regard for business and thinks it is ok to just dictate from the podium at 1pm each day,” Leggett says.

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