Goff followed official advice in keeping Auckland events going

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Auckland Mayor Phil Goff is defending public health officials who allowed the Big Gay Out and Prada Cup to continue yesterday despite knowledge of positive cases.

Auckland mayor Phil Goff speaks to media following Cabinet's extension of the alert level 3 lockdown.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff Photo: RNZ / Dan Cook

Thousands attended the Big Gay Out in Auckland’s Coyle Park, including Goff, who learned of the cases while on his way there.

Goff received a phone call from Director General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield late Sunday morning and was advised public events should stay open.

“Whenever I see Ashley’s name come up on my phone I know that it’s not going to be good news,” he said.

“They didn’t have the full details at that time, I was on my way to the Big Gay Out, I said ‘do we need to close those events today?’

“The advice at that point was not, and continued to be the advice through the afternoon….”

Goff said he also had several phone calls with the Prime Minister, to keep up to date with the latest information.

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When faced with questions as to why events like the Big Gay Out were not cancelled, Mr Goff said he, and organisers, were listening to health officials.

“That was the advice that the experts and the health authorities have given and I never try to second guess the experts in this field,” he said.

“That’s their domain and we follow their advice, and their advice now is to take this action, unlike on other occasions…”

Goff said restrictions came into effect as quickly as possible.

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