“The Government’s announcement about New Zealand’s post-COVID future is a step in the right direction, but New Zealanders will be asking why it has taken so long,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“It has taken a series of damaging polls to spur the Government into action.

“The Government’s announcement that low-risk travellers might be able to enter the country without MIQ sometime in 2022 will sound like a distant dream for separated families and struggling businesses.

“ACT’s plan released in March would be safer and could be put in place faster.

“Our plan would allow low-risk travellers to go into private MIQ now but with the following safety features:

  • All people physically on site would have to be vaccinated, including workers and guests alike
  • Travellers would have to be from low-risk countries
  • A cohort model would mean a hotel could take new travellers for only three days, then be sealed until all are released. This way if an outbreak does occur, nobody who has left recently needs to be traced
  • Guests and workers would have mandatory PCR saliva tests every two days
  • Participating hotels must be licenced, and risk losing their licence for any breaches of the rules.

“Our approach strikes a better balance in supporting key sectors and preparing for a wider opening up, while being smarter about the risks posed by Delta.

“The Government also announced it may trial self-isolation for medium-risk travellers.

“ACT’s private MIQ is a better interim step but if the Government is serious about self-isolation, it needs to read COVID 2.0 and get to work on developing technology along the lines of Taiwan's digital fence system to ensure self-isolation is safe.

“We now need to see a clear timeline and milestones from the Government so we can know when these steps have been achieved.

“We are 18 months into a crisis and the Government’s basic response has remained unchanged.

“The real problem is that the disastrous vaccine procurement and roll-out means we all have to hurry up and wait.”