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Prime Minister insists alert level decisions are not political after criticism from Judith Collins

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has insisted that alert level decisions are not influenced by politics after comments made yesterday by National Party leader Judith Collins.

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Judith Collins said yesterday that she believes decision-making around alert levels were “starting to look very political”. Source: Breakfast

Responding to yesterday's alert level announcement, Collins said "the alert level moves are starting to look very political".

"We're starting to wonder very much - because we don't get the same advice, obviously, that the Prime Minister has, and she doesn't share it - that these decisions are increasingly being made by a Government, Cabinet, rather than based on health or anything else. We have no reason to believe otherwise," she said.

"I'm feeling they're starting to get a bit political and I'd like the Prime Minister to front up and tell us exactly how those decisions are made and if they differ or not with the advice they are getting."

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The Opposition along with Labour’s coalition partner NZ First, believe restrictions need to be eased more. Source: 1 NEWS

Speaking this morning to TVNZ1's Breakfast, Ardern said alert level decisions being made by the Government are based solely on Ministry of Health advice.

"I think it will be obvious to most people that the politically easy thing to do would just be to not have restrictions in New Zealand. But that's not the safe thing to do," Ardern said.

"We've never let politics play into our decision making around the way that we manage Covid-19.

"We've based our decisions on a health response because our view is that's the best economic response.

"Regardless of the timing we're in at the moment, that is still the criteria we're applying."

Last month, Ardern called for the politics to be taken out of the Covid-19 response as she clashed with Collins on the issue in Parliament.

"What I don't think adds to the situation is if we have anyone that unnecessarily calls into question the role, for instance, of testing, the importance of restrictions and limiting spread," Ardern said on August 18.

"There are areas where I think it would be useful if we took the politics out of the response."

She also hit back at the Opposition questioning the timing of Covid-19 precautions put in place, saying the Opposition appeared to have gone back on their own stance.

"When we prepared for a resurgence plan, the Opposition claimed we were scaremongering," Ardern said.

"Now they seem to be claiming that somehow our resurgence plan was not sufficient.

"We have always prepared for this scenario because no one has managed to get themselves to a situation where they haven't experienced a second wave - no one."