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Bridges calls for more businesses to safely operate during lockdown

A "constructive conversation" is needed on whether contactless businesses should be able to run safely during lockdown, National leader Simon Bridges says. 

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The Opposition Leader is calling for more testing and compulsory quarantining at the border. Source: Q+A

"When you think about our economy, the longer we see the devastation, the job losses, the businesses going under, it's heart attacks, it's mental health issues, it's fatalities in its own way," Mr Bridges told TVNZ1's Q+A with Jack Tame.

"Let's try and deal with some of the randomness where one is an essential service and one isn't, let's be agile and potentially we can move to a more risk-based system."

Mr Bridges said the country needed to be "quite agile about those questions now and certainly if lockdown goes longer". 

"The Government needs to do everything it can to have the most effective lockdown so we can get out of this as soon as we can.

"We're devastating our economy, we're curtailing freedoms, so the sooner we can get out the better."

1 NEWS reported last night on the case of one non-essential business, a flower company that has had to destroy $40,000 of lilies, a devastating move it will have to repeat in the coming weeks.

"When you see last night the guy mowing through lilies, when you hear stories about a number of people who can sell one thing online but not another... if its safe, it’s contactless, it may be able to be done."

So far, the Government's wage subsidy scheme has seen $4.8 billion paid out to businesses. 

Mr Bridges also called for an increase to testing, pushing the daily tests into the "tens of thousands". 

As of yesterday, a total of 33,116 Covid-19 tests had been done, with the country at a capacity to do over 6000 tests per day.

"If you dealt with everyone who had symptoms, close contact, overseas, you would be testing more," Mr Bridges said. 

Also on Q+A
Increase in contact tracing needed for safe end to lockdown - disease specialist