“Victoria’s plan to open to up to international students and workers is what ACT has been calling for since August last year and New Zealand should follow suit,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.
“The Australian state of Victoria is doing this right with plans underway for international students and essential workers to enter the country.
“In Victoria they’re using separate hotel quarantine facilities to returned Australians. Here we have 1688 empty quarantine rooms this week. There’s no reason why they can’t be used, or why we can’t follow the lead of Australia.
“It’s taking far too long for the Government to develop a plan for what to do with MIQ spaces. The Trans-Tasman Bubble has been months in the making and yet this week rooms sit empty.
“It’s baffling why there wasn’t a plan in place to effectively utilise these spaces. Once again New Zealand is playing catch up with a reactive approach to COVID. Instead of waiting for a situation such as empty MIQ rooms to happen, our Government should be taking a proactive response to COVID.
“Instead Australia has beaten us again. While our economy shrank by 1 percent in the December quarter, Australia’s grew by 3.1 percent.
“This was what ACT has been calling for since August. Then I said “Allowing private providers to offer managed isolation would expand our capacity. We risk the economy slowly grinding to a halt as projects of all kinds wait on essential workers from overseas, unless we find a way to safely reengage with the world.
“I said it last year and I’ll say it again now. The role of government is to set clear rules of the game so New Zealanders stay safe and business can get on with creating jobs and growth.”