“The Government needs to release the modelling it has received for how many people will need to isolate at the peak of Omicron so we know the costs and benefits of a 10 day isolation period,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“If the Government can’t show that the benefits of its self-isolation policy outweigh the costs, ACT says it should allow all people who return a negative test to leave self-isolation.

“The number one concern I am hearing from Kiwis is about the 10 day isolation requirements and their cascade of effects on businesses and communities. It is creating a lockdown in all but name as people worry how long they’ll have to spend locked in their homes and what it will mean for our workforce.

“What we need is open access to rapid antigen tests, then, as soon as someone tests negative, they can leave isolation instead of waiting the full 10 days. If you test positive in the UK and isolate, you’re out after five days with a negative test.

“Instead of everyone having access to tests, the Government makes people fill out forms to find out if they’re ‘critical.’ It doesn’t include teachers. What happens when half the teachers at a school are isolating for 10 days, will it be left to a handful to mind 600 kids? Will school be called off and parents have to stay home to care for them? The Government simply has not thought through the implications of what it is creating.

“Will we see fish rotting at the wharfs as a fish factory’s workforce is at home isolating when they might actually be negative? Will we see courier parcels unable to be delivered? Basic items no longer on the supermarket shelves? All because the workers are isolating for 10 days when they could be free to go about their life if they just had access to a RAT test.

“As ACT has said, the Government should legalise any test that can be used in Australia for immediate importation. At present, Australia allows 26 different types of home use test and 67 point of care tests. We should simply say tomorrow that New Zealanders are free to import any type of test approved in Australia.

“The Government uses modelling when it suits them, but it’s been quiet on what’s ahead for Omicron because it knows it’s stuffed up on having enough RAT tests available. It’s time to release the modelling, let businesses and households know what they’re in for and then adjust the isolation plan to be more realistic policy of allowing all people who return a negative test to leave self-isolation.”