“The Prime Minister has some serious explaining to do after her Government's Official COVID-19 Facebook Page contradicted her claim that Case J (Kmart worker) and Case L (KFC worker) were told to isolate. The Page replied to a member of the public saying that they had completed their shifts before new rules required them to self-isolate,” says ACT Leader David Seymour

“Either the Government is spreading misinformation on Facebook, or the Prime Minister is spreading it through the media. Either case is totally unacceptable.

“The Prime Minister has not only misled the whole country but subsequently doubled down on her claims that the workers were instructed to isolate, which cannot be true because the isolation orders were issued after the workers had completed their shifts.

“Perhaps worse, the Government is still making up the rules as it goes, over a year since New Zealand’s first COVID-19 case. New rules for this case were introduced on February 23, nine days after the Valentine’s Day outbreak began.

“One of the key roles of Government in an epidemic is to set clear rules of the game. ACT has been saying this since it released its COVID-19 policy last August. This Government is making the rules up as it goes.

“The Prime Minister’s cynical attempts to whip up nation-wide hysteria against a small group of people who have no platform to defend themselves, without accepting her Government’s failures, shows kindness, and the ‘team of 5 million’ has been a sham all along.

“We wonder if the Prime Minister would be caught out under her own promised hate speech laws after wrongly telling the whole country a handful of individuals put other citizens at risk of death by breaking the rules.

Comment follows:

Unite against COVID-19

Kia ora Nicole, case J (Kmart worker) and Case L (KFC worker) were not required to isolate at the time. The advice for all staff and students of Papatoetoe High School to isolate was updated on 23 February, after the two had attended their shifts at their workplaces. Close contacts and their families were advised to isolate and get tested. 

Initially, casual plus contacts such as Case I, (today's Case L sibling) were advised to get a test and self isolate but their household members were not required to do so. The family complied with the advice they were given at the time. 

The Ministry of Health updated their advice on 23 February, following this high risk situation, stating everyone in a Papatoetoe High School household must stay away from work or any other school, educational facility or community setting (e.g. the supermarket or any other place outside the home). The school remains closed and no students or staff will be able to return until advised by a Medical Officer of Health. COVID-19 remains the problem, not the people who have it.