ACT Leader David Seymour has today written to the Parliamentary Service Chief Executive and the Speaker asking for saliva or rapid antigen testing to be widely available to staff and MPs at Parliament.

“In light of the Speaker’s signalled change to drop isolation requirements for those coming to Parliament from Alert Level 3 zones, and looking to the future of the epidemic, I have urged the Speaker to make saliva or rapid antigen testing widely available to staff and MPs at Parliament," says Mr Seymour. 

“Parliament is not just politicians and journalists. There are innocent people there too, including about 500 security guards, cleaners, researchers and other staffers who deserve a safe workplace.

“A greater danger is spread of COVID from Parliament to the wider public. It is difficult to imagine a worse institution for spreading a virus than Parliament. People perfectly evenly distributed around the country come together and shout in the same room and then fly home each week. 

“Many businesses are using these technologies. Genesis needs the Huntly Station to operate. They cannot afford for staff to get sick, so they saliva test frequently to stop any outbreak. Air New Zealand and Auckland International Airport are also using it, too.

“Other businesses are using rapid antigen testing, for example Mainfreight are using it in 26 countries, Parliament should be adopting a modern response to COVID, too.

“ACT has suggested for the welfare of parliamentary staff and the public alike, Parliament should, independent of Government, get testing in place in order that the chance of an outbreak in or caused by Parliament can be reduced.

“ACT has consistently called for better use of technology throughout this pandemic. For the sake of the wider country, Parliament should have this testing in place.”