“The Government took 192 days to require testing of border-facing staff and almost immediately a healthcare worker at Jet Park has tested positive for Covid-19,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.
“The only reason we haven’t seen more cases appearing at the border is because it wasn’t a requirement for staff to be tested.
“The Government is making it up as it goes when it comes to testing the people who are most likely to get Covid-19.
“It had one job: keep the virus out of our community so we can avoid lockdowns. It failed and we’re all paying the price.
“The Health Minister said a month ago that requiring border staff to be tested was ‘a big lever to pull’. But locking down a whole city and devastating people with anxiety and financial loss isn’t?
“Hipkins’ comment revealed so much about this Government’s approach. It has been complacent about the border and blasé about the impacts on ordinary people trying to run their businesses and households.
“The Government didn’t go hard and early. New Zealand was the 60th country to get a case. We were given advance warning.
“Despite calls from ACT in January and February to consider closing the border, the Government dithered and then had to implement one of the most severe lockdowns in the world.
“It spent 102 days congratulating itself and navel-gazing instead of achieving world-leading testing, tracing and isolation.
“It then took 192 days to require testing of border-facing staff.
“We can’t hug our way out of this crisis.
“Only a Party Vote for ACT is a vote to get smarter in dealing with Covid-19. Our plan is:
- New Zealand Epidemic Response Unit: Based on Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Centre
- Government as referee, not player: Allow alternative facilities for safe, electronically-monitored isolation, with strict punishment for rule-breakers
- Risk-weighted: Treat different countries and travellers with different levels of caution
- Technology-driven: Such as the Covid Card, ëlarm, rapid tests, temperature checks and thermal cameras
- Continuous improvement: Constantly compare ourselves with the best and seek to strengthen our resistance.
“If we want to enhance New Zealanders’ overall wellbeing, we must get a lot smarter. A Party Vote for ACT is a vote to tackle Covid-19 intelligently.”