“Suggestion by the Prime Minister that Cases M and N caught the virus from cases D,E,F, G, and H would mean there was a chain of transmission to be traced all along, but the Government did not find it,” says ACT Leader David Seymour

"The Prime Minister said it is helpful to have found the link, it would have been helpful if contact tracing found it last week.

“The Government lowered alert levels last Wednesday on the assumption that it had traced to the end of the chains of transmission. It hadn’t.

“If the Government had been prepared to adopt digital contact tracing, this extra chain of transmission would have either been contained, or at least known about, 10 days ago.

“The Government has had a series of opportunities to adopt better digital contact tracing. It could have embraced COVID-card last August, but instead elected to kick for touch. It could have made use of the contact tracing it does have, the NZ COVID-Tracer App, compulsory for use.

“Having not built up its contact tracing ability, it was unable to encircle the outbreak, leaving us yo-yoing in and out of lockdown.

“The Government requires an attitude reset around its response. We are in our current situation because the Government has been unwilling to accept criticism, reflect and improve its response. Had it done so, we would not be in our current situation.

N.B. an earlier version of this release described the transmission as being between Cases M & N rather than from Cases D-H to them. This has been corrected without changing the substance of the release.