“The same Government that banned private companies from importing rapid antigen tests now admits it’s spent $45 million in 14 months on storage for expired and expiring rapid antigen tests (RATs) and PPE that will likely never be used,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Health Minister Ayesha Verrall admitted this after I questioned her in Parliament. She has many more questions to answer on behalf of New Zealand taxpayers who are footing the bill for all this waste.

“The Minister needs to answer why it is still paying around $10,000 per day to store COVID gear? How much of it is still usable, and how much is worth storing? How much would be cheaper to discard and replace another time?

“The Government often blames the cost-of-living crisis and New Zealanders’ economic struggles on ‘COVID,’ but the truth is that we have Government waste to blame for inflation. The Government has spent $45 million storing gear that won’t be used.

“They would have been better to simply give it away when it was useful. They could have given it to supermarkets and let them offer it as a storefront freebee while COVID was still a major issue, and the gear hadn’t expired.

“At the same time the Government was chastising people for panic buying toilet paper it was panic buying tens of millions of RATs and other COVID equipment. At least the toilet paper will get used.

“While some of the PPE might still be useful, it may already cost more to store than it is worth, and if it hasn’t yet it will soon. This kind of disastrous economic management throughout Government is a good example of why inflation and interest rates are rising.

“Wasting $158 million in expired or near expired RATs was just the tip of the iceberg. Labour’s mountain of waste continues to grow and there is no indication they plan on stopping it. The only logical solution is to vote them out.”

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