Following reports on Friday that the Government had stopped a school importing 2000 Australian Government approved RAT tests at the border, Customs has now confirmed the tests will not be released,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“The situation is absurd. These tests are superior to the Ministry of Health’s standards and are approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration in Australia, where these tests are widely available. What’s more, the Government has had three days to think about it and came back saying they’re definitely confiscating them.

“The tests have been approved in Australia but not New Zealand. They have an accuracy rate of 90 per cent, higher than the Government’s standard of 80 per cent. They were purchased for cheaper than the tests the Government is using, at $8 a test.

“A competent Government would have asked officials, ‘is it true these tests meet Australian standards, is it true they meet our standards, and if so why are you detaining them?’ Even when an absurdity is publicly reported, the Minister does nothing. It is doctrinaire contempt and ham-fisted incompetence from this Government that they have not intervened.

“The Health Ministry has questions it needs to answer. What will happen to these and other imported tests now? Will it approve them and commandeer them for its own use? Will it send them back to where they were imported from for another country to use? Why is it stopping a school that took the initiative to secure its own tests? Will it ensure Grammar has access to other tests? Will it refund Grammar for the tests?

“This level of bureaucracy and control is truly ridiculous.

“As ACT has said, the Government should legalise any test that can be used in Australia for immediate importation. At present Australia allows 26 different types of home use test and 67 Point of Care Tests, we should simply say tomorrow that New Zealanders are free to import any type of test approved in Australia.

“The Ministry of Health and the Government needs to stop the absurdity and control and let New Zealanders source their own RATs.”

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