“Exactly two months before Election Day, the Prime Minister has decided New Zealanders can leave the giant creche for adults where his Government had been treating us all like children,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“It’s now a full 10 months since ACT called for isolation requirements to go, and Australia actually did it. Labour has finally caught up with New Zealanders, and the rest of the world, by choosing to get rid of ridiculous and unworkable COVID-19 isolation requirements.

“The fact the Government has refused to remove COVID-19 isolation requirements until now shows reckless disregard for the people of New Zealand. They have been happy to impose high costs with little benefit and have taken their sweet time getting around to fixing it. The fact Chris Hipkins is trying to sell it as a good news story and an example of triumph is just humiliating.

“Hipkins’ trip down memory lane during his post-cab press conference might have had him smiling about years gone by when Labour was more popular in the polls, but for many New Zealanders it is an unwelcome reminder of a time when the Government imposed unworkable and destructive restrictions with barely any regard for the impact they had. Many businesses are still recovering or have gone under as a result.

“Barely anyone has been following these rules, it has been a totally pointless and draconian restriction for years. Nobody knows the true compliance rate, least of all the Government. We suspect mandatory 7-day isolation was counterproductive. If the rules were too strict, people who cannot afford to follow them would not, and there would actually be more transmission than an approach based on personal responsibility.

“Labour should be thanking their lucky stars one of the international football teams didn’t have to isolate and disrupt he FIFA World Cup. It would have turned New Zealand into an international embarrassment.

“When ACT started calling on the Government to make this decision almost a year ago, we never thought it would take this long for them to start treating citizens like adults again.”

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