28 months after ACT called on the Government to begin planned epidemiological studies to understand the true prevalence of COVID-19, the Government has finally announced it will be launched “soon”,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“In late March 2020, then-Health Minister David Clark told the Epidemic Response Committee the Government was considering starting survey tests, a suggestion that was supported by ACT who encouraged the Government to get it underway as soon as possible.

“On 31 March 2020 I said in a press statement: "It is critical the Government invests in data and testing to inform such decisions as soon as possible. It could use its extra capacity to begin testing randomly so we can understand the true prevalence of COVID-19."

“Why has it taken so long to implement something that was accepted as common sense right at the start of the pandemic?

“What the Government also doesn’t seem to realise is that Rako Science is already testing thousands of people daily and publicly releasing prevalence data via Linkedin. But much like with RAT testing, the Government refuses to engage with successful organisations like Rako until they start performing the exact same service only months and months later.

“This is yet another reason why ACT’s Glasnost investigation into Labour’s COVID response is needed within the first 100 days of Government.

“The investigation is not simply about learning what Labour did wrong. It is about working out what we need to do right. There will be another pandemic. Probably not this year, hopefully not in the next decade, but almost certainly in our lifetime. In the future, it could save New Zealand billions of dollars in costly mistakes.”