New Zealand Coronavirus Restrictions Stay: PM Jacinda Ardern Says ‘Battle’ Just Begun
( Breitbart )
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Monday her left-wing Labour government won’t lift coronavirus restrictions until they are “well beyond” the peak of the virus, speaking even as anti-mandate protest numbers continue to swell in the capital.
Ardern has predicted that coronavirus case numbers are likely to peak mid-late March, but restrictions including reporting who you meet with in public via the NZ COVID-19 Tracer app, social distancing from people you don’t know, vaccine passes and mandatory vaccinations will remain until further notice.
The leader has claimed the vaccine passports resulted in New Zealand avoiding “more general restrictions across the whole population”, and insisted the current measures including vaccine passes are “temporary.”
Ardern, a former president of the International Union of Socialist Youth who mysteriously blamed “imported” forces for driving protests in her country, also highlighted despite the measures being “temporary” she has stated they will “remain important in some areas though, for some time”.
“Now is not the time to dismantle our hard work and preparation, to remove our armour just as the battle begins” Ardern insisted at a press conference on Monday, the Guardian reports.
The Labour leader also attempted to chastise the anti-coronavirus restrictions protestors who have remained outside New Zealand’s parliament for the last two weeks by suggesting protestors should be “celebrating” that the restrictions were in place “rather than protesting”.
While New Zealand has had record low numbers of coronavirus deaths and cases, with 32,927 cases detected in total and 53 deaths overall, around 50 percent of NZ’s cases (16,356) are currently present in the local community, raising concerns about a lack of natural immunity to the virus as a consequence of strict coronavirus restrictions.
The Wellington Freedom Convoy has remained outside the New Zealand Parliament for the last 14 days, with police being forced to take a softer approach with protestors after a crackdown attempt which saw 120 arrested backfired when a video showing a naked woman being dragged by her hair by police officers went viral and brought widespread condemnation on the police.
Freedom convoy numbers are said to have significantly swollen in size, with around 800 vehicles blocking the roads around the parliament over the weekend as Kiwis from across the country arrived to show their support.
New Zealand’s police have however begun an operation to starve the protestors of support after they placed concrete blocks around the protest in the early hours of Monday morning in an effort to prevent more vehicles from arriving.
Protestors are reported to have clashed with the around 300 police officers during this operation. Eight protestors were arrested and seven police officers injured, with some protestors allegedly throwing human faeces at the officers.
Despite the clashes on the streets of Wellington, Ardern refuses to brook any criticism for her actions against the Freedom Convoy, as exchanges with local media confirm:
“If I could finish a sentence!” New Zealand’s Dear Leader Jacinda Ardern (who must never be challenged) snaps at a TV host who dares to ask a question she doesn’t like about the Freedom Convoy, which includes paramedics, teachers and pharmacists she has sacked. Not so kind now! pic.twitter.com/iPSjsiWLA8 — Dan Wootton (@danwootton) February 21, 2022
The Wellington Parliament freedom convoy has pledged to remain in place “as long as it takes” for Ardern to lift the restrictions, while Ardern insists the convoy will not have an impact on her decision to lift restrictions.
New Zealand Police Commissioner Andrew Coster has claimed to have been in touch with Canadian authorities after they passed emergency powers leading to the violent removal of the three week-long Ottawa freedom convoy by riot gear clad police officers over the weekend.