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ASB Showgrounds Liquidation Shows Up Government's Brittle COVID Response

“ASB Showgrounds going into liquidation after more than 160 years shows the Government’s failure to respond nimbly to COVID,” says Epsom MP and ACT Leader David Seymour

“The events industry has worked hard asking Government to consider their unique circumstances. They petitioned Parliament in March but got no policy change.

“Their request is simple. At Alert Level 2 they cannot function, being allowed only 100 people on site. Three kilometres up and down the road, malls such as Westfield 277 and Sylvia Park host thousands of people continually streaming in and out under the same Alert Level.

“Event centres are expert at crowd control and tracking, they have presented detailed plans to Government for how they could operate safely at higher alert levels, but the Government did not listen.

"The possibility of going to COVID Alert Level 2 has put doubt on expo events and actual alert level changes have cost the ASB Showgrounds millions of dollars due to cancelled events. In addition to ongoing pressure on ground rent, poor COVID management means the iconic central Auckland venue is in liquidation.

“ACT has shown a better way forward. Our COVID 2.0 plan emphasises a wellbeing approach to COVID, that considers all aspects of human welfare. COVID is a major threat, but it is not the only consideration.

“The COVID world will only become more complex as the rest of the world reconnects. We need a more sophisticated Government response. It is time for the Government to think harder about the risks it is imposing on different sectors rather than bluntly locking down and locking out, that is not a sustainable strategy."

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