8 Dec 2021

Christopher Luxon: Auckland border restrictions not necessary

12:19 pm on 8 December 2021

National Party leader Christopher Luxon says Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield advised Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern there was no need for an enforced border around Auckland.

National Party leader Christopher Luxon.

National Party leader Christopher Luxon. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

With police and iwi setting up border checkpoints between Auckland and Northland this summer, National Party leader Christopher Luxon argues there was no need for any border restrictions between Auckland and Northland.

"Through the Waitangi Tribunal affidavits that Dr Bloomfield put forward, the first thing I'll say is that his advice to the prime minister was that in fact there is no need for a hard or enforced border around Auckland ... due to levels of high vaccination rates those borders don't need to be in place."

"That's been part of the problem with the traffic light system frankly is that we're supposed to be in red fundamentally when the hospital system is overwhelmed yet we've got high vaccination and the hospital system is fine and coping well.

Luxon told Morning Report the published criteria as to why Auckland is in red was inconsistent with Jacinda Ardern's messaging.

He said the relocation of 300 police officers to Northland from the South Island was a waste of resources when there is crime to fight over summer in the South.

After little more than a year in Parliament, Luxon made his debut in the House, squaring off with Ardern over her government's Covid-19 response yesterday.

Christopher Luxon said his inaugural Question Time as National Party leader was exhilarating.

Luxon said it was a great experience, with only a minor hiccup.

"There was a stumble there, I was super excited to be honest and I got the order of the questions I had in my mind mixed up but look it was great experience ... it's quite different on TV versus when you're actually in the pit of Parliament it's just really exciting it's quite a cool atmosphere."

Luxon said he was proud of the performance of his reshuffled National Party front bench.

One notable absentee from yesterday's session of Parliament was former National leader Judith Collins who Luxon said was taking a "well-deserved" break.

"Judith and I have had a chat and I think she deserves a tremendously well-deserved break [it's a] pretty tough job being leader of the opposition, she did it for almost 500 days and her and I said 'you've only got a couple of weeks to go take a break and then start again in the New Year'," Luxon said.

After MP Simon Bridges raised concerns about the Reserve Bank New Zealand Governor Adrian Orr, Luxon reaffirmed his party's trust in the head of the bank.

Bridge's comments were made weeks ago on The Working Group podcast before he was given the finance portfolio in the Party's recent reshuffle, Luxon said.

However, Luxon said he agreed with Bridge's concerns around the Reserve Bank's "mission creep".

"The key focus of the Reserve Bank is to actually to ensure price stability...

"We've spoken subsequently that's not our position but I think he raises some good points around mission creep and the stability of the bank.

"I think the key focus has to be on price stability there's been other things added into the agenda over recent years like employment and other things - our real focus is on price stability."

Luxon said he did not want to see politicisation of the Reserve Bank.

This included the bank's prioritisation of climate change issues which Luxon said should be the focus of government.

"The primary focus around climate change sits with the government in terms of making sure we're adapting to climate change, we're mitigating those risks.

"You see it in the business world as well where businesses are thinking about that very deeply and actually declaring how they're going to manage climate change risks so it's appropriate for the Reserve Bank to do that but it's not its primary focus the primary focus has to be price stability," Luxon said.

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