“The Government’s announcement of more funding for PPE is being used to erase any hint of its inept management of the issue,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.
“The Prime Minister has tried to rewrite the history of her Government’s response to Covid-19, in particular the claim that it ‘went hard and early’.
“According to the Government, we were steered through the Covid-19 crisis by the wise leadership of Jacinda Ardern.
“In reality, we were lucky all along. More of the credit belongs to the fact that New Zealand is surrounded by a natural moat. Almost all of the countries that have beaten Covid-19 are island nations.
“The Prime Minister will now use this additional funding for PPE to claim the Government was on top of the issue all along.
“In reality, today’s announcement is an acknowledgement that its handling of the issue has been completely inept.
“The media and frontline health workers have exposed the Government’s incompetence on PPE and the Auditor-General’s damning investigation found countless failings.
“The Prime Minister’s assurances back in March that sufficient PPE stocks existed now appear totally implausible given a later Auditor-General report found the Ministry of Health didn’t know how much stock it had.
“The Government should have moved to shore up PPE supplies weeks ago at the height of the crisis.
“ACT said back in May that we needed to expand our public health budget, but the Government is just getting around to it now.
“The Auditor-General identified a number of significant failings in the Government’s management of PPE during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It didn't know how much PPE it had, how much had expired, or how much would be needed. Mixed messaging had led to confusion and different DHBs had inconsistent information. The demand model didn't take into account frontline healthcare workers and there were gaps in planning.
“At every stage of the Covid-19 crisis, New Zealanders have been one step ahead of the Government’s slow and inadequate response.
“The Government has one job: get the public health response right so that we can begin to open up the economy, create new jobs, and start to repay the debt.”