Jacinda Ardern won't say whether elimination is still our goal in NZ

The AM Show 04/10/2021

WATCH: The Prime Minister says the country is in an awkward "transition" but won't give a clear indication as to whether elimination is a viable option still.

Ahead of the 4pm stand-up today Ryan Bridge presses Jacinda Ardern for some more clarity on the plan moving forward as New Zealand prepares its self for potential further lock down extensions.

"Are you willing to admit now finally that Auckland is very unlikely to get to zero cases and that COVID-19 is with us now?" Bridge asked. 

"Ah Ryan I am not sure what you're asking for in an admission," Ardern responded, before Bridge jumped in again asking her to confirm whether she would give Aucklanders certainty about what the COVID-19 plan is. 

"What I am looking for from you this morning Prime Minister is an admission that elimination isn't going to happen in Auckland, we are always going to have COVID here and if that is the case…"

It seems both Ardern and Bridge this morning were unable to reach a concensus on what constitutes an answer to Bridges questions...

"So Ryan. Ryan... at four o'clock today we will be setting out after Cabinet has met this afternoon, our road-map for Auckland, our intention for Auckland. Keeping in mind that we are in a space right not where we do need to be really cautious," Ardern said. 

"I've heard a lot of people talk solely about the option of simple alert level changes, we have more options available to us than just that…". Bridge jumped in again asking, "Like what?".

"What we've been doing over the last few weeks is analysing some of the changes that could be made that pose less risk but also just help Aucklanders at this stage because we absolutely understand the restrictions they've been living under are tough" Ardern responded.

We have seen countless attempts from the Prime Minister to dodge around simple questions. Though, Ryan continued to press further...

"Ryan, my friend I am trying to answer your questions," Ardern said while laughing.

"With respect Prime Minister you're not," Bridge countered. 

"Ryan...we are still in the position where we need to maintain control of this outbreak because we do still need more people vaccinated. But look for the long-form version, I would rather I have a chance to talk to my Cabinet colleagues before we set out that road-map," Ardern said.

"So are we still striving for elimination or what you're saying is you're making a decision today about whether we're still striving for elimination," Bridge asked.

Once again, the Prime Minister was hesitant to give a direct answer to the question, stating the government is focused on the "here and now" and that their approach is malleable.

"We are in a transition now though, we are in this awkward position where we don't yet have enough people vaccinated to tolerate an outbreak but we are in a position, it's within our sights, because we are vaccinating rapidly that once we do we can change our approach," Ardern said. 

When asked if Aucklanders face another 2 months of lock downs due to vaccination rates and time between first and second doses, the Prime Minister responded...

"That is not correct Ryan, that is not the only option available to us," Ardern said before again pointing to the 4pm stand up for more information. 

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