Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in Auckland via Getty
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in Auckland via Getty

Lloyd Burr: So Jacinda Ardern has finally decided to visit Auckland - In my opinion though, it’s too little, too late.

Opinion 10/11/2021

OPINION: So Jacinda Ardern has finally decided to visit Auckland. 

It’s the country’s biggest city, it’s where she has her home, it’s where she has her constituency of Mt Albert, but she hasn’t been there for 12 weeks.  

She’s been based in Wellington while the supercity’s been in Level 3 lockdown. 

But with travel rules for MPs being relaxed, she’s finally returned. 

In my opinion though, it’s too little, too late. 

For 13 long weeks, businesses in Auckland have struggled. Many still are - they message us every week with harrowing stories of laying off staff, remortgaging homes, closing shops, shutting down, breaking down, losing hope, and many even working illegally under the table just to make ends meet. 

Almost all of them have said they feel abandoned and forgotten and unappreciated by the government. 

They haven’t been consulted, or contacted, or heard. 

For 13 long weeks. 

And the usually Auckland-based Prime Minister has not been there for them. She hasn’t talked to them. She hasn’t helped allay fears and concerns. 

So you can understand why I’m being cynical with her Auckland visit today. 

It’s token. 

It’s box-ticking. 

It’s too late. 

And I doubt she’s met with former business owners who’ve been forced to shut up shop. I doubt she’ll meet with hair dresses or beauticians or pub and restaurant owners who’re deep into the red because of this crisis. 

If you really do care, Prime Minister, SHOW Auckland businesses you care, don’t just say it.

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