Judith Collins said today she would rather money was spent on helping New Zealand businesses survive Covid-19 than being put towards the dole.
On Monday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Auckland would remain at Alert Level 3 until 11.59pm Sunday, at which point it will move to Level 2.
But the wage subsidy for businesses hasn’t been extended for those extra four days - despite calls from the National leader.
Ms Collin says the Government’s decision not to extend the subsidy is "a bit mean”.
“It is costing about half a billion dollars a week, but you know what, I’d rather that we actually spent that money on keeping people in work than on the dole queue,” she told TVNZ1’s Breakfast this morning.
Though there will be no extension, Ms Ardern said earlier this week people would be able to "count this full period of Level 3 as part of their application for that extension", which could see more eligible for the subsidy when the full period of restrictions is taken into account.
However, Ms Collins this morning said businesses will be closing down without the extra help.
“We’ve heard from the hospitality association that have said 10 per cent of their businesses will be closed by next week they believe. I don’t think that’s outrageous in terms of scaremongering. I think they’re very genuine in that and that’s certainly what we’re hearing from people.”
Ms Collins also said she would like the disconnect between the Ministry of Health and Government ministers cleared up when the select committee reconvenes - particularly around Covid-19 testing.
"We found out yesterday that the testing of frontline staff, those at the border facilities and managed isolation facilities - we were promised that was going to be happening every week, and they were promised that... It turns out they haven't been."
"Dr Shane Reti, I think he'll do an excellent job on that committee for us."
Sir Brian Roche has recently been brought in by the Government along with Heather Simpson to help iron out any kinks in the Covid-19 testing regime.
Ms Ardern announced last Wednesday that the pair would work with the Ministry of Health to look for ways of improving the system.