“The lack of progress on a travel bubble with a Covid-free part of New Zealand shows Labour will govern by fear until 19 September,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Despite the fact there’s no community transmission in either region, Jacinda Ardern continues to reject the possibility of a travel bubble.

“There’s a simple reason. Until 19 September, the Government will govern for the Labour Party, taking zero risks, and keeping New Zealanders in a state of fear.

“New Zealanders would like to travel. The Cooks need our tourism dollars. It’s a simple, safe, win-win proposition. A travel bubble could happen tomorrow. The Government could make the trip a domestic flight.

“When FDR said, ‘the only thing we have to fear, is fear itself’ he could have been talking about our election. New Zealanders are being given a daily dose of fear with tacit demands for gratitude. We’re told it’s dangerous to even talk about our long-term plan.

“The Prime Minister told us tens of thousands would die. It’s now clear that was questionable at best.

“Our approach must shift from fear to practicality. Labour needs to stop preaching fear, and ask what we can do, not what we can’t do.

“COVID-19 will be with us for a while at least. But it is not the only danger we face. Instead of a state of fear, we need a state of open debate.

“New Zealanders need to reconnect safely with the world, but they’re currently being gripped by the state of fear that the Government created as a management tool. Every time there’s a Government mistake, the ratchet tightens, and opportunity gets tougher.

“A different future is possible. With everyone working together in a climate of possibility instead of fear, we could turn our good luck into good management.

“We must end government by fear and groupthink. Instead of wrapping ourselves in cotton wool, we need to be resilient in a post-COVID-19 world.

“The next government will need to peer into the future, confront our problems strategically, and lead the world in public health with an open, transparent, tech-savvy approach.”