Ardern needs to explain ‘pathetic’ Covid testing

Jacinda Ardern needs to explain why ‘pathetically low’ testing rates were part of her Government’s plan to keep Kiwis safe from Covid-19, Leader of the Opposition Judith Collins says.

Reports this morning that health professionals were raising the alarm about poor quarantine practices, ‘pathetically low’ screening rates, confusing public messaging on testing, and the closure of Auckland community testing stations prior to the latest outbreak in August shows how much disarray the Government’s Covid-19 response was in.

One doctor reportedly said the Labour-led Government’s approach was putting aging GPs at risk and could see Covid-19 ‘blow up’ in New Zealand ‘just like Victoria’, while another was ‘completely floored’ that everyone with symptoms was not required to get a Covid-19 test.

GP New Zealand, the representative body for general practice, reportedly said official communications were often ‘piecemeal, unclear, inconsistent or not timely’.

“This is a damning diagnosis from doctors on the frontline,” Ms Collins says.

“It shows the Labour-led Government did not hold up its end of the bargain when five million New Zealanders sacrificed their jobs, their businesses and their way of life by going into lockdown to rid Covid-19 from our communities.

“We’re now facing the biggest economic shock in 160 years, we can’t afford any more harsh lockdowns. The threat of Covid-19 must be taken seriously.

“After Jacinda Ardern did her little dance back in June, she got complacent. Her Government dropped the ball on testing border staff, which is why there was a second outbreak.

“Ms Ardern owes an apology to those New Zealanders who lost their jobs and their businesses because of the latest outbreak of Covid-19, which should never have happened.

“National’s smart border plan will add some much-needed steel to our Covid-19 defences, allowing New Zealand to safely reconnect with the world and our economy to grow.”

National will:

  • Require travellers to get a negative Covid-19 test before boarding a plane to New Zealand

  • Widen the availability of Covid-19 tests nationwide

  • Deploy Bluetooth technology to enhance contact tracing

  • Establish a dedicated border agency to improve management and oversight

  • Do everything we can to keep New Zealanders safe from Covid-19

You can view National's Border Policy here.

Our Delivering a Smart Border Policy can be found here.