Quarantine absconders should meet cost of apprehension

The Hamilton 5 quarantine breakout is alarming and the absconders must foot the bill, National’s COVID-19 Border Response spokesperson Gerry Brownlee says.

“Assurances from the Government that all five absconders’ day three tests were negative means little when the gestation period is so much longer. With a 14 day quarantine mandatory.

“The situation is a sign that Labour has failed to secure the border, despite frantic efforts to shuffle responsibilities. And they must now agree to heavy financial penalties for those who abscond.

“Breakouts like this make the Government’s threat of regional lockdown very real.

“Most in quarantine recognise their obligation to prove themselves as Covid-19 free before re-joining the team of five million.

“Those who choose to abscond show no respect for the extensive lockdown the team of five million complied with.

“Having recognised the rights of New Zealanders and residents to return home and be provided quarantine facilities, why should the taxpayer bear the cost of absconders’ reckless behaviour.

“There should be no tolerance for the risk of community transmission that they pose.

“While we don’t know the relationships of the Hamilton 5, we do know getting them back into quarantine cost hundreds of police and quarantine officials’ hours, as well as the helicopter costs.

“The absconders should pay up and a cost order should be sought.”