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Covid-19 Failings Highlight Need For Border Agency

The confusing, sub-standard systems in place around our border response, confirmed by the Roche/Simpson report, show the need for a dedicated border agency, National’s Covid-19 Response spokesperson Chris Bishop says.

“This report provides plenty of cause for concern in the Government’s handling of our Covid-19 response to date.

“The Prime Minister and her Cabinet should have been doing a better job of monitoring what the Ministry of Health was doing, rather than just telling the public every day that things were fine when public servants, and the media, were reporting that it wasn’t.

“The confused communication and lack of accountability that plagued our border response is unacceptable. The second outbreak that plunged Auckland back into Level 3 and the rest of the country into Level 2 was estimated to cost the economy $440 million a week.

“It is disappointing that it took the Government so long to release this report. Sir Brian Roche and Heather Simpson completed their assessment months ago. Transparency is important.

“Heightened border management will be required in New Zealand for the foreseeable future to keep the virus at bay, even beyond the development of a Covid-19 vaccine.

“We need a dedicated border agency that is resourced to act as a centre of expertise, with the personnel, technology and capability to provide a world-class defence against Covid-19.

“A border agency would draw on resources across Government and have the ability to order compliance – something that has been sorely lacking from our response to date.

“The expensive and ineffective border system we’ve had in place to date is not good enough. National is ready to work constructively with the Government on ways to improve this.”

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