“MIQ rule breakers should finish their fortnight in jail, because we can’t let a few idiots ruin the New Zealand economy,” according to ACT Leader David Seymour.

“The huge sacrifices of New Zealanders got us through COVID-19. We can’t have a few idiots ruining it for the rest of us.

“These rule-breakers put the community at risk of COVID-19 and make it less likely that we can begin reconnecting with the world.

“We all pay in terms of health and the economy when people break the rules.

“If people abscond from MIQ, there must be consequences. The simple solution is that they spend the remainder of their isolation in prison.

“We’re now running out of room in MIQ facilities and the Government has shown itself incompetent at managing the border.

“New Zealand needs to be opening up to private isolation solutions. The education and horticultural sectors need these solutions. But we can’t without clear rules and public confidence.

“If private sector, user-pays MIQ were to be implemented, it would require a regulatory framework backed by strong enforcement to ensure compliance.

“But as we’ve seen throughout the COVID-19 crisis, the Government is too slow and too unwilling to engage with the private sector.

“The next government will need to do a much better job of being nimble, innovative and engaging with the private sector.”