“While Australia are removing Covid restrictions at a greater pace and reaping the economic benefits, New Zealand grimly holds on to zombie laws that do nothing,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“One month ago Australia reduced its isolation periods from seven days to five, yesterday they decided to scrap them altogether, as the UK did in February.

“ACT proposed nearly seven months ago in our Move On document that New Zealand should adopt Singapore’s system, after 72 hours of isolation and a negative test, you’re free to go. This would still be a massive improvement over our current settings, but now our Government should be considering relinquishing isolation periods altogether like Australia has.

“New Zealanders don’t need a public health order to know if they’re unwell or not. It puts undue pressure on employers whose employees are required to stay away for an entire week when they themselves can figure out when they’re safe to return to work. Removing it is simply letting people take personal responsibility.

“Australia has been faster to move on from Covid. This is why they’ve managed to return to and exceed their pre-Covid incoming migration levels at 107 per cent of pre-Covid. Meanwhile New Zealand is only at 52 per cent of our pre-Covid incoming migration.

“This is another contributing factor to why Australia’s median wage is 42 per cent higher than New Zealand’s. When Labour came to office, it was only 33 per cent. Labour’s reluctance to drop Covid restrictions is one of the reasons we cannot have nice things.

“Labour dithered for months before reducing any of our Covid settings, when they finally did relinquish some control two weeks ago, our infection rates continued to decrease. This is because their Covid rules weren’t doing anything.

“Keeping people locked in their houses longer than is necessary imposes real costs to them and the economy, without improving our Covid response. We need a Covid response that considered all the costs to New Zealanders’ wellbeing as well as the benefits of fighting Covid when putting controls in place.

“New Zealand is holding on to a long Covid hangover. It turns out an ‘abundance of caution’ is an abundance of cost for New Zealanders.

“The Government needs to give personal responsibility back to New Zealanders and scrap isolation periods.”

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David Seymour