Miscommunication jeopardising COVID-19 response

The Minister of Health needs to release any information the Government has received about border-facing staff being tested for COVID-19, National’s Health spokesperson Shane Reti says.

The Government said on June 23 that all managed isolation staff would be regularly tested for the virus. But after two months it has been revealed that this was not the case and only 60 per cent at Jet Park Hotel, the main managed isolation facility, were being tested.

The Minister has since claimed he was misled by his ministry, but the Director-General of Health says regular briefings were provided to the Minister and Cabinet over this time period.

“Either the Health Ministry isn’t delivering the information or the Health Minister isn’t reading it – either way it’s not good enough.

“This is a serious system failure that needs to be addressed if we are to keep COVID-19 out of New Zealand. The five million New Zealanders who made sacrifices to get this country to Level 1 deserve to know which link in the government chain failed.

“New Zealanders have been let down by this lack of testing and a complacent attitude from the Government.

“Instead of playing the blame game, the Health Minister should be up front about what has gone wrong and provide an assurance that it will not happen again.”