Another day, another National border suggestion adopted

News the Government will move to a risk-based approach for overseas arrivals is welcome but well overdue, National’s Covid-19 Response spokesperson Chris Bishop says.

Back in January National proposed precisely this approach and since then we’ve been calling for a traffic light system for MIQ arrivals, where arrivals from high-risk countries would be separated from arrivals coming from low-risk countries.

“The Government is finally seeing sense and adopting our recommendation but it should adopt National’s other suggestions to strengthen our border and MIQ system in addition to the measures already in place.”

  • Introduce rapid antigen testing – nasal swab tests that return results in 15 minutes – for everyone getting off international flights
  • Conduct daily saliva testing of every person who works in a MIQ facility
  • Investigate construction of a purpose-built Covid-19 quarantine facility on the outskirts of Auckland

“We said then, and repeat now, it simply does not make sense for passengers from higher risk countries like India and the United Kingdom to be treated the same as passengers from lower risk countries like the Pacific Islands.

“It beggars belief the Government still isn’t conducting daily saliva testing of every person working in a MIQ facility. This was an ‘urgent’ recommendation in the Simpson/Roche report in September last year and only now is the Government looking into finding providers.

“It’s taking far too long for the Government to recognise problems within MIQ and our border and then fix them.

“The Government promised New Zealanders a smart border, we’re still waiting for it.”