The Opportunities Party has come out firing at the National Party’s suggestion to push back the election date, calling the proposal dirty politics and a “Trumpian response”.
In a statement this afternoon, Opportunities Party deputy leader Shai Navot said her party believes the election should proceed on September 19 as planned, despite Auckland going into a level 3 lockdown yesterday.
“The Auckland Covid-19 outbreak is very concerning and creates uncertainty which none of us want,” Ms Navot said.
“The Opportunities Party is supportive of the measures taken by the Government to contain further spread, however, everything should be done to keep the current election date if at all possible."
“Depending on how things unfold, if a delay is necessary, the election should still take place within weeks of September 19, not months, and certainly this year.”
Ms Navot claimed National’s attempt to push back the election to either November or 2021 – a suggestion party leader Judith Collins made yesterday – serves their party’s interests, not New Zealand’s.
“The National Party’s call for an election delay for a period of months is not made in the best interests of the country but because they are unpopular and in appalling shape," Ms Navot said.
“They want to delay in the hope they can boost their performance or undermine the outcome, that’s the truth of the matter."
“It’s the same tactics Donald Trump is using and it’s dangerous, dirty and unwelcome. The New Zealand public will see through it.”
Instead of delaying the election, the Opportunities Party said it’s time to adjust to living with Covid-19 for the time being.
“Covid-19 is not going away anytime soon, so the unwelcome reality is that we are going to need to go in and out of different alert levels for some time," Ms Navot said.
“It is a matter for the Electoral Commission to ensure that we have the appropriate voting infrastructure in place, including postal voting, not politicians. That is work the Electoral Commission has in fact already been doing.
“Democracy cannot wait for a cure for Covid-19. We need to continue with the election campaign as best we can, so the country has a government with the mandate and focus on managing what is going to be an ongoing, difficult issue.
“Kicking the election down the road will only serve to destabilise the country and draw out the campaign process.
“Kiwis want certainty and stability right now, let’s give it to them.”