“Only Labour could fail to prioritise residence visas for ICU nurses in the middle of a pandemic when the shortage of ICU nurses is the critical weakness in our response,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“The 2021 Resident Visa was supposed to fast-track people stranded and unable to work thanks to COVID. Now it is reported that as many as 15 ICU nurses in Wellington alone wait in limbo because Immigration New Zealand cannot process their 2021 Residence Visas.

“We acknowledge the difficulty of getting people physically into the country so long as the Government insists on MIQ. But the failure to give ICU nurses already on shore the paperwork to do the job is a new level of failure, even for Labour.

“In times past, a Minister who makes a big promise to solve an urgent problem far too late would resign for failing like this. In Jacinda’s no-fault regime, the hospitals will remain understaffed while nurses anxiously wait to see if New Zealand values them enough to do their paperwork.

“ACT said in our July Honest Conversations paper that the Government should dump it’s ‘once in a generation’ reset and prioritise highly skilled workers. The Government didn’t do it then and is now failing in ways that would be funny were they not so serious.

“The Government acknowledges that the shortage of ICU staff is our Achilles heel, the Minister of immigration should have the Chief Executive of Immigration New Zealand on the phone demanding such people be prioritised tomorrow."