“Under this Government, tracing apps don’t work, and bludgers won’t work,” according to ACT Leader David Seymour, in response to reports the Government’s tracing app is all but defunct and horticulturalists are having to hire 900 people to fill 240 spots.
“The Government has one job: get public health right so we can reconnect with the world safely and restart the economy. Unfortunately, its approach to public health has been fragmented, technophobic, and alienating to the private sector.
“By contrast, ACT has released five principles for leading the world in public health. Stop preaching fear, and ask what we can do, not what we can’t do. Have an open debate. Start working on a country-by-country basis. Augment our public health response with better technology. Engage with the private sector.
“The Government went it alone with its contact tracing app instead of acting as a coordinator. Now there are many incompatible apps. People get to their local store and the app they have is different from the QR code on the counter. It’s a mess.
“The Government should have recognised that the challenge was not to create an app but a platform. It should have called a meeting of coders and interested parties and asked them to work together to create one national protocol for contact tracing apps. Instead, the Government went it alone and spent more than two million dollars on an app nobody is using.
“Sadly, the Government’s approach is technophobic and unwelcoming to the private sector, so we have apps that don’t work.
“Meanwhile, other aspects of the Government’s public health response are floundering with news that, two days ago, we recorded our lowest testing rate since March. Why did the Government restrict testing criteria?
“The Government’s poor public health efforts mean that we can’t reconnect with the world safely and restart the economy.
“Kiwifruit growers find they cannot get workers to pick their fruit. One report suggests 900 people are being hired to fill 240 positions. The workers they’re getting off the dole queue just don’t last. Why would they when the Government gives unlimited cash welfare?
“ACT’s policy of time-limited employment insurance plus electronic income management would change the incentives for taking work. It is unfair on taxpayers that so many people choose not to work when there are jobs available.”