“Chris Hipkins has admitted that the pre-departure testing regime is making little difference to case and hospitalisation rates in New Zealand, it’s time for pre-departure testing to go,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“I asked the COVID-19 Response Minister at Health Select Committee today “what are the goals of COVID policy, and how do we know the benefits of our policies outweigh the costs?”

“The Minister says we’re trying to achieve all those goals, but couldn’t say whether the costs of the Government’s various interventions outweigh the benefits.

“Specifically, when he was asked about the difference pre-departure testing was making to hospitalisation rates, he said there was little difference and that “pre-departure testing’s days are numbered.” Ashley Bloomfield also admitted there was no need for it anymore.

“I met someone on the weekend who got kicked off a flight overseas because their pre-departure test was fifteen minutes too old. Tourist operators say we’re not really open for business until we remove the friction from coming here. 

“And yet, the Minister is still forcing us to bear the cost of pre-departure testing despite himself admitting there’s no logical reason for it to continue. Those costs are paid by travellers, both travelling Kiwis and their visitors, and whole industries that depend on the border being open. 

“We’re in the middle of a cost of living crisis but the Government still can’t move on and help businesses by removing pointless restrictions.

“We have got our assumptions back to front. If the Government cannot justify restricting people, it should stop restricting them. If the Minister can’t justify a reason for pre-departure testing, it’s time to dump it.”