The Government should consider lifting the nationwide lockdown early, David Seymour says.
New Zealand is now in its 13th day of lockdown after the Covid-19 alert level was raised at 11.59pm on March 25.
Under alert level 4, the entire country is effectively in self-isolation, with only essential services remaining open. Kiwis are allowed to leave their home only to go to the supermarket, doctor, GP, service station or for exercise locally, but must stay in their bubble.
Yesterday Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern shot down the idea that the lockdown would be lifted earlier than the four-week minimum.
She didn't want the gains in the first half of the lockdown to be lost in the second half, she said.
Despite promising signs, the four-week lockdown allowed health authorities to see where the spread had happened but should have stopped further transmissions, Ardern said.
But Act Party leader Seymour told Magic Talk radio the Government should consider lifting the lockdown early, if it could be done without causing a public health crisis.
"I think [lifting the lockdown early] should definitely be on the cards," he told Magic Talk.
"Every day that we are locked down people are losing money, they're losing businesses, they've got mental health issues that are going to arise."
The most important decision in New Zealand right now was when the restrictions will be lifted, Seymour said.
In March, Seymour called for MPs and public sector bosses to take a temporary 20 per cent pay cut in solidarity with the thousands left out of a job by the Covid-19 crisis.
Seymour raised the idea while speaking in the House after the Government released its $12 billion package to bolster health services and soften job losses.
"I've never seen MPs look up when I was giving a speech like that, in all of the speeches I've given in Parliament," Seymour told media after his speech.
He said the pay cut should be 20 per cent for 12 weeks, the same length of time that the Government's wage subsidy for employers is currently on offer.
Ardern told the Herald she wasn't opposed to the move, having had MPs' pay frozen in 2018.
Today, Seymour said the country could be moved out of alert level 4 earlier if the Government had "good-quality testing and economic data" which was shared with New Zealanders.
He says this data - and New Zealanders' access to it - is crucial so the public can have a say on when the country lifts lockdown restrictions and other major Covid-19 decisions.
"If we're going to 'Unite Against Covid-19' - as we're told ad nauseum every time we turn on any kind of radio or device - the Government needs to start being open with its data," he said.
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The data needed to improve and be shared so that the right decision could be made at the right time, Seymour said, "rather than lifting too early, and potentially the virus gets out and we get a lot of lives lost and more economic destruction; or lifting too late, in which case the carnage that people will be feeling on the economic front will be worse".