National release 10-point Omicron plan

Given the Government has listened to National’s policy to end MIQ for vaccinated travellers and recognised the importance of rapid tests, National is proposing more ideas to improve the response to Omicron.

Today, National is releasing our 10-point plan for the Government to safely steer the country through Omicron.

  1. Accelerate boosters and youth vaccines
  2. Update the testing regime with rapid tests
  3. Increase use of high-quality masks
  4. Shorten isolation periods and fix community support
  5. Increase access to Covid treatments
  6. End MIQ and let stranded Kiwis come home
  7. Reinforce the health system
  8. Clarify available financial support
  9. Ensure children can learn safely
  10. Specify the criteria for removing restrictions

New Zealanders have sacrificed a lot over the last two years in the fight against Covid. First, through strong collective effort we eliminated the virus from New Zealand, preventing illness and saving lives.

New Zealanders’ sacrifices bought the Government time to prepare and improve our Covid defences. It gave us the opportunity to learn from other countries and do things better. It gave us a head start to do things like vaccinate at pace, upgrade our hospitals and classrooms, and expand MIQ.

Unfortunately, the Government squandered that extra time, and opportunities to improve our response have been lost.

The Government delivered the slowest vaccine rollout in the developed world so when Delta arrived, less than 20 percent of the population were fully vaccinated, forcing us into another lockdown.

Instead of building ICU beds or bringing in nurses from overseas, they pushed ahead with a dangerous and disruptive restructure of the entire health system in the middle of a
pandemic.

The Government has been negligently slow to embrace other types of testing in addition to nasal PCR testing, such as saliva PCR testing and rapid antigen tests.

With the arrival of Omicron, New Zealand’s Covid strategy needs an urgent upgrade. We can’t rely on what worked in 2020, and we certainly can’t make the same mistakes the Government made in 2021 that led to an $8 billion lockdown, thousands of Kiwis not even eligible for a booster shot yet, and thousands more shut out of their own country.

New Zealanders deserve a Government with the foresight and the plan to confront the challenges of Omicron head on.

Omicron’s arrival in New Zealand will be unsettling for many. We will get through the challenge by working together, and by adopting a new approach of managing Covid in the community. This document contains ten sensible ideas to improve the Government response and we urge the Government to adopt them.

You can read our full ten-point plan here or view online below.