“The Government’s announcement of a managed isolation and quarantine fee for a tiny group of travellers is an underwhelming and unimaginative response to the challenges New Zealand faces,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.
“The world has changed, but the Government has failed to change with it. A smart, innovative government would set up a regulatory framework for private provision. Private providers would offer safer, cheaper managed isolation.
“Many of our hotels are going broke and Air New Zealand is being paid not to fly. Instead, Air New Zealand and hotels could offer a private managed isolation package to essential workers and others prepared to pay and wait for time in New Zealand.
“Universities with hostels, and RSE employers required to provide accommodation at a certain standard, should be trusted to bring students and workers in under strict rules administered by WorkSafe with appropriate penalties. Those penalties should include managed isolation rule-breakers finishing their fortnight in jail.
“Allowing private providers to offer managed isolation would also 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.
"Some people will say the private sector can't be trusted. Really? What about the Government? It has totally failed at the border. People have escaped and private health data has been left hopelessly vulnerable.
“Banks keep data safer than any government department. Airlines fly people at 900 kilometres an hour every day without incident. Agribusiness delivers infant formula around the world with pinpoint quality control. But only the government can keep people inside for two weeks?
“There’s no doubt people should have to contribute to the cost of managed isolation, but why should they be forced to pay an incompetent government monopoly providing a limited number of spaces?
“ACT knows the recovery won’t come from state control or political bickering but from free enterprise. 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.”