Where is the Roche/Simpson report?

It is astonishing that four months after the Government’s border testing systems failed spectacularly, Covid-19 Recovery Minister Chris Hipkins still hasn’t produced the report that identifies how this happened, National’s Covid-19 Recovery spokesperson Chris Bishop says.

The report was commissioned by the Government in a hurry back in August after it became clear that not enough border staff were being tested for Covid-19. Brian Roche and Heather Simpson were sent in to fix the mess.

“More than two months after it was due back, the report is nowhere to be seen. Cabinet hasn’t even seen it yet,” Mr Bishop says.

“This is astonishing. Getting our border response right is critical for the future of this country.

“The Roche/Simpson review was ordered after significant failures of the testing and surveillance regime. It simply beggars belief that Cabinet has not yet considered the report.

“Chris Hipkins told Parliament today that he had seen drafts of the report. The Government has said our response to Covid-19 is its number one priority, so why isn’t it acting like it?

“The Minister needs to be clear about when Cabinet will finally consider the report, why it hasn’t done so until now, when the report will become public and what recommendations the Government is acting on – and which ones it isn’t.

“We should always be looking at ways to improve our border plan, that’s why Roche and Simpson were commissioned in the first place.

“Transparency is important here. New Zealand’s economic recovery relies on a strong border.

“With businesses closing down and Kiwis losing their jobs, we can’t afford to waste time not considering this report.”