The Green Party will not attend Parliament while Wellington is at Alert Level 4 this week.
“The public health advice at Alert Level 4 is to stay home and keep to your bubble so we can slow the spread of the virus and navigate our way out of this outbreak. This includes essential workers if they are able to work from home, such as teachers. Politicians are supposed to be part of the team of five million – we should be role models for the health advice, not exceptions to it,” Green Party Co-leader Marama Davidson said.
“Parliament could be sitting virtually like Select Committees have been. There is no good reason for MPs to travel right now, putting our communities at risk.
“All Green MPs and staff will work from home while Wellington is still at Alert Level 4. By blocking the ability for Parliament to meet remotely, National and ACT are selfishly choosing to risk the lives of our whānau and communities for political posturing,” Marama Davidson said.
Green Party Co-leader James Shaw said: “During last year’s outbreak, Parliament did not meet in-person during Alert Level 4. This time, we understand the advice from the Director General of Health was that Parliament should not sit during Alert Level 4.
“It’s not just about the twelve MPs who will be sitting in the Debating Chamber – it’s about the hundreds of potential close contacts that each of those twelve MPs represent.
“There are cleaners, security staff, parliamentary staff, and the many hundreds of bubbles risked by travelling during Alert Level 4. An MP who chooses to travel from Auckland to Wellington will come into contact with dozens of people along the way.
“The Speaker of the House laid out a thorough plan for Parliament to sit via Zoom which would have allowed for more in-depth scrutiny of the Government, and in turn protected all the parliamentary staff who are needed to ensure smooth running of in-person sitting.
“National and ACT blocked this safer option in the midst of an outbreak of the highly transmissible delta variant. Ironically, meeting in-person under Alert Level 4 reduces how many people can participate in parliamentary business because of physical distancing. On Zoom, all 120 MPs could be there,” James Shaw said.
When Wellington is at Alert Level 3, one Green MP will be present in Parliament’s chamber, in accordance with the Speaker’s guidelines.