No time for conspiracy theories - MP Peeni Henare

By Jessica Tyson

Tāmaki Makaurau MP Peeni Henare says he has no tolerance for conspiracy theories about Covid-19 or how the government is acting in response to the pandemic.

That comes after comments being made by people on social media suggesting the pandemic is some kind of control system put in place by the government.

“Right now I don’t have time for conspiracy theories," Henare said. "We’ve got a health issue on our hands. Our priority is to make sure we can stamp out Covid-19 as quickly as possible.”

Some 22 New Zealanders have died from the coronavirus, according to the Ministry of Health. The latest statistics from the World Health Organisation show there have been more than 700,000 deaths and more than 20 million cases worldwide.

“Right now our focus is on a health issue and we want to make sure that we can respond appropriately to that," Henare says. "We made it clear as a government that this is our focus.

'Remain vigilant'

“The Labour Party has put off campaigning, has put off using this as a platform for politics and simply focused on how best we protect our whānau and our communities here in Tāmaki but also right across the country.”

To keep New Zealanders safe, Auckland went into Alert Level 3 lockdown on Wednesday, while the rest of the country moved to level 2 after four community transmitted cases were found in Auckland.

“What we’re trying to do here is stamp these things out as quickly as possible but what we need, in order for us to do that, is to make sure that as a whānau and as people here in Aotearoa we remain vigilant.”

Henare urges people to download the NZ COVID Tracer app.

“Make sure we follow the advice of the health authorities and a big part of that is making sure that contact tracing for an individual wherever you might be, whatever you might be doing, is still important in case we do have to trace your footsteps.”

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says Parliament is due to meet on Friday to discuss further action and whether the Auckland lockdown will continue.