Wednesday, 8 September 2021

Rodney Jones, Sean Hendy call for new tests, data transparency


“Rodney Jones gave an illuminating presentation to the Health Committee today, saying the Government needs to speed up approvals of new testing technology, and release data like Singapore does,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Rodney Jones pointed out to the Health Committee that we need more testing technology. He said that the Government needs to ‘speed up approval’ of new testing, and ACT agrees.

“Meanwhile Shaun Hendy said there should be ‘more emphasis on’ rapid testing, calling it an ‘important tool we need to do more thinking about.’

“The Government has explicitly banned point of care, or rapid, testing. Not only is it not using the technology, but it also won’t let anyone import it. These technologies are used all over the world, for example they are actively promoted by Britain’s NHS, but not here.

“This comes off the back of the Government contracting a second saliva testing provider after its first contract for 20,000 tests a week, signed in May, provided only 800 tests last week.

“The Government has been woeful at absorbing new technology into its COVID-19 response, testing being just one example. It is now clear that we need more frequent testing in response to Delta, and the Government needs to change tack.

“Meanwhile, Rodney Jones called for the Government to start releasing its full data, like Singapore does.

“In New Zealand, we get case data based on when a person was tested. That is hopeless for modelling. In Singapore they release onset data, with an estimate of when each case began. They go on to report whether a case was vaccinated or hospitalised. New Zealanders own the Government’s data, and they should start releasing it to its owners."