“The Prime Minister has her priorities completely warped if she thinks being last in the developed world for the vaccine rollout is pleasing,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“According to ‘Our World in Data’, New Zealand has fewer vaccinations per person than any other OECD country.

“In response to that, Jacinda Ardern told Morning Report, “I am pleased with that progress.”

“What kind of leader is pleased with coming last?

“To make matters worse, Ardern went on to again blame the speed of frontline workers coming forward. “In some cases, it will be because they haven’t wanted to book a vaccine yet. I’m not going to give those who may not have come forward yet a hard time.”

“A good leader would take responsibility for how the rollout is going and not blame the workers who are risking themselves to keep New Zealanders safe.

ACT has developed a plan for the immediate next steps of New Zealand’s response to COVID-19 and a longer-term strategy for living in a progressively vaccinated world.

“It is underpinned by five principles: government transparency; faster tech uptake; risk-proportionate responses; a culture of inviting criticism; and maximising human wellbeing.

“It also makes 15 policy recommendations, including:

  • Compulsory COVID-app use including Bluetooth functionality to improve contact tracing
  • Introduce daily PCR saliva testing and the use of Datamine’s ëlarm technology to the border and MIQ workforce to alert them to early signs of infection
  • An Epidemic Response Unit modelled off Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Centre to replace COVID-19 response leadership by the Ministry of Health
  • Reactivate Parliament’s Epidemic Response Committee

“Investigating and doing these things requires the Government being prepared to put the effort and resources into them.

“Whatever that resource may be, ACT’s view is the cost will be considerably less than further lockdowns caused by inadequate measures at the border, patchy contact tracing, and a slow vaccination roll-out.”

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