“The Government set itself one job – test, trace and isolate the virus in three days – but it has failed, at a cost to all of us,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.
“If the strategy was always for restrictions to last one incubation cycle of 14 days, the Government should have said so. Now we will all pay a heavy price for the Government being out of its depth.
“We were told that another outbreak was a matter of ‘when, not if’. The Government had 100 days to ensure the border was watertight, ramp up community testing, and achieve a gold standard of contact tracing.
“People will rightly ask ‘what the hell have we been doing for the last 100 days?’
“The decision this evening to extend Auckland’s lockdown by 12 days is an admission that the Government is out of its depth.
“The Government hasn’t tested border and MIQ staff – the people who were most likely to get Covid-19. Testing numbers fell dramatically in July. People at community testing centres have faced seven-hour delays. Staff at MIQ facilities have been photographed without PPE.
“A lockdown might have been the right plan in March given the information we had at the time, but it’s clear the strategy hasn’t worked.
“The costs of lockdowns – in terms of mental health, delayed health treatments, small business failures, unemployment and debt for future generations – are just too high.
“We need to revise our strategy of eradication at all costs, it is unaffordable.
“We have to face up to the fact that the virus isn’t going anywhere, and we have to adapt and live with the virus intelligently.
“ACT has set out five principles for better public health: stop preaching fear, have an open debate about our national strategy, treat travel to different countries differently based on risk, use better technology, and use private sector solutions for testing, tracing and isolation.
“The priority should be to protect the vulnerable while allowing other New Zealanders to get on with their lives.
“New Zealanders are sick of being told to be kind. We can’t hug our way out of this crisis.
“We need a new kind of leadership. We need competence, not just good communication.”