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Collins calls for NZ election to be pushed back to late November or 2021
05:20 am GMT+12, 12/08/2020, New Zealand

 National’s party leader Judith Collins has called on the New Zealand Prime Minister to delay the election, saying it is not possible to have a free and fair vote in the circumstances.
 
Joining Collins, joined by other National Party members - Gerry Brownlee, Paul Goldsmith and Shane Reti - was speaking from the Legislative Council Chamber at Parliament.
 
She says she wants to express her disappointment Auckland is now in level 3 and the rest of New Zealand is in level 2.
 
Collins said she had asked for a meeting today with the electoral commission, saying it would not be possible to have a free and fair election.
 
“We are calling on the Prime Minister ... to shift out the election date to a date later in November.”
 
She said if that was not possible, the Prime Minister could instead defer the election to next year.
 
“We think that is probably the better alternative.”
 
“It's very hard to have any democratic vote if people can't vote, that is the problem.”
 
Collins said it was not acceptable for New Zealanders to be left wondering if they can vote on election day. She said relying solely on a postal vote was "utterly ridiculous for anyone who cares about democracy".
 
She said there had been “absolutely no transparency” and there had been no ability for National to be involved in any decision making.
 
“We would like to have clarity, we would like a timeline.”
 
Collins said it was unacceptable that Dr Reti, the party's health spokesperson and a former GP - was still waiting for an update from health officials. He had been trying to talk to them all day, she said.
 
Her statement comes after four new cases of Covid-19 in the community were identified last night, with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield announcing increased Covid-19 alert levels across the country.
 
The four cases were members of the same family, and Ardern revealed this morning that one of them had travelled to Rotorua while symptomatic.
 
The Auckland region moved to level 3 at midday today, with the rest of New Zealand moving to level 2 simultaneously. The increased levels will remain for three days until midday Friday, when alert levels will be reassessed.
 
Collins this morning had urged Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to delay the dissolution of Parliament, which she has since done.

SOURCE: RNZ PACIFIC/PACNEWS


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