3 Nov 2021

Covid-19: Hamilton Mayor calls for separation from region once vaccination target reached

3:06 pm on 3 November 2021

The mayor of Hamilton wants her city treated differently to the rest of the region once it reaches 90 percent fully vaccinated.

A quiet Hamilton street on Monday as part of the Waikato region starts five days of alert level 3 following two community cases of Covid-19.

A quiet Hamilton street in alert level 3 following an outbreak of Covid-19. Photo: RNZ / Katie Todd

The city is expected to reach the milestone by the first week in December, ahead of other areas in Waikato and King Country.

Hamilton has reached 90.1-percent first doses and currently sits on 77-percent fully vaccinated.

The Waikato DHB region which includes King Country is at 86.9-percent first dose and 72.7-percent second.

Parts of Waikato and all of King Country are currently in Alert level three, step 2, which came into effect at midnight on Tuesday.

Paula Southgate has written to the Prime Minister suggesting the city should join with Auckland once it starts the Covid traffic-light system.

''I don't want to be held back from getting our economy up on its feet when we reach those high levels of vaccination in Hamilton, especially not if Auckland comes under a different regime. There has to be some equity around that. Equity for Hamilton businesses and Auckland businesses.''

In her letter to Jacinda Adern she said it would not be sustainable if, just across the Bombay Hills, Hamilton has to remain in Level three for weeks or months with more than 90-percent of its population fully vaccinated.

She said that is the situation the city is currently facing.

Hamilton mayoral candidate Paula Southgate

Hamilton Mayor Paula Southgate Photo: RNZ / Andrew McRae

Southgate does not believe it will be detrimental to other parts of Waikato and King Country being at a different level to Hamilton.

''I think any parts of New Zealand are able to get their economy up and strengthened helps everyone else out. I don't want to leave everyone behind. I would like everyone to come with us on this journey.''

She is urging everyone across Waikato and King Country to lift their vaccination rates.

Southgate said businesses are facing a critical time and they can not withstand lockdown for very much longer before some are lost.

She has invited the Prime Minister and Cabinet to discuss what Hamilton needs and how it might work.

''We are flexible. We do understand we are not health experts and we do understand we are not security experts. So, I have asked to speak to both the police and the DHB and get all of the heads around the table as to how we can move forward.''

''At the end of the day the goal is clear, I want to get more businesses up and running as soon as we practically can, while we continue to keep the numbers of cases under control, because we all know that if cases get out of control again we will go back into restrictions.''

Her message to the rest of the region is to follow Hamilton.

''We want to get into this place of new freedom before Christmas and the only thing that is holding us back from that is the vaccination rates.''

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