“Private enterprise should safely take over managed isolation with rule-breakers finishing their fortnight in jail,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.
“The two old parties want to charge returning Kiwis for managed isolation run by an incompetent government monopoly providing a limited number of spaces.
"Some people will say the private sector can't be trusted. Really? What about the Government? It has totally failed at the border. People have escaped and private health data has been left hopelessly vulnerable.
“Banks keep data safer than any government department. Airlines fly people at 900 kilometres an hour every day without incident. Agribusiness delivers infant formula around the world with pinpoint quality control. But only the government can keep people inside for two weeks?
“A smart, innovative government would set up a regulatory framework for private provision. Private providers would offer safer, cheaper managed isolation.
“Many of our hotels are going broke and Air New Zealand is being paid not to fly. Instead, Air New Zealand and hotels could offer a private managed isolation package to essential workers and others prepared to pay and wait for time in our COVID-free paradise.
“Universities with hostels, and RSE employers required to provide accommodation at a certain standard, should be trusted to bring students and workers in under strict rules administered by WorkSafe with appropriate penalties.
“Those penalties should include managed isolation rule-breakers finishing their fortnight in jail, because we can’t let a few idiots ruin the New Zealand economy.
“The huge sacrifices of New Zealanders got us through COVID-19. We can’t have a few idiots ruining it for the rest of us.
“These rule-breakers put the community at risk of COVID-19 and make it less likely that we can begin reconnecting with the world.
“We all pay in terms of health and the economy when people break the rules.
“If people abscond from managed isolation, there must be consequences. The simple solution is that they spend the remainder of their isolation in prison.
“Allowing private providers to offer managed isolation would also expand our capacity. We risk the economy slowly grinding to a halt as projects of all kinds wait on essential workers from overseas, unless we find a way to safely reengage with the world.
“There’s no doubt New Zealanders will have to contribute to the cost of managed isolation, but why should citizens be forced to pay an incompetent government monopoly?”