Ten steps that National says will get us going

Measures to allow travel in and out of New Zealand

National Party Covid-Response Spokesman Chris Bishop (left) at the media conference in Wellington today, September 29, 2021 (Screen Grab)

Venkat Raman
Wellington, September 29, 2021

National Party Covid-Response Spokesman Chris Bishop has recommended that New Zealand should take ten immediate steps that would not only keep the country ahead of Covid-19 and its Delta variant but also help us to reconnect with the world.

He was speaking to the media in Wellington as his Party Leader Judith Collins unveiled the Party’s Comprehensive Covid-Response Plan titled, ‘Open Up.’

He said that the government should take ten steps urgently. These include 1. Supercharge the vaccine rollout 2. Order vaccine boosters 3. Upgrade our contact tracing capability 4. Roll out saliva testing at the border and in the community 5. Roll out rapid tests for essential workers and in the community 6. Create a dedicated agency, Te Korowai Kokiri, to manage our Covid-19 response based in Manukau, not Wellington 7. Build purpose-built quarantine facilities 8. Launch a digital app for vaccination authentication 9. Invest in next-generation Covid treatments and 10. Prepare our hospitals and expand ICU capacity.

Way out of lockdowns

Mr Bishop said that these 10 steps are important measures New Zealand needs to take to evolve our response away from lockdowns and help us open up to the world.

“If we implement these steps, we have options for our future. Kiwis can then look to reunite with family, travel overseas for business and pleasure and we can welcome tourists and students for international education. Once we reopen to the world, the future is in the hands of New Zealanders,” he said.

Mr Bishop said that the medium-risk (orange) pathway is travel from jurisdictions where Covid-19 is spreading but under control, and where vaccination rates are above 50%. Judgments would be made by National’s proposed Covid-19 agency, Te Korowai Kokiri.

Ease of travel with lower risk

“Vaccinated travellers from these jurisdictions would be able to come to New Zealand with a pre-departure test and a rapid and saliva test on arrival at the port of entry. They would then be required to spend seven days in home isolation and encouraged to take rapid tests which would be provided for free upon arrival. Enforcement would be via spot checks, and the possible use of digital monitoring apps like Singapore’s ‘Homer’ App,” he said.

According to him, the enforcement is likely to be applied to travellers to and from New South Wales, Victoria, Singapore, the USA, the UK and many European countries.

“People who test positive either at ports of entry or in the community would either be required to isolate at home or in purpose-built quarantine, with assessments made by public health teams. Under this plan, Kiwis coming through the green and orange pathways would be able to come home by Christmas. They have done the hard yards, they have willingly followed harsh lockdown measures and other restrictions. It is time that they are offered a vision for the future and a plan for how this hard work has paid off. National’s plan does just that,” Mr Bishop said.

Our tipping point

He said that New Zealand would have to pivot from an elimination strategy to one of vigorous suppression.

“New Zealand is at a tipping point. Delta is in the country right now and may never leave. Even the Government admits it may not be possible to get cases back to zero and if we do Delta will be back again anyway. The government is being intellectually dishonest in maintaining the fiction that borders can reopen while New Zealand simultaneously maintains an elimination strategy. In a world with Delta, that is impossible,” Mr Bishop said.

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