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Hipkins Confirms Govt Doesn’t Have Enough RATs

The Government has admitted that the reason why their bureaucratic ‘test-to-work’ regime for close contacts doesn’t apply to every worker is because they don’t have enough rapid antigen tests, National’s Covid-19 Response spokesperson Chris Bishop says

“Answering questions in Parliament today, Chris Hipkins fessed up that the reason only ‘critical’ businesses are included in the Close Contact Exemption Scheme, rather than all businesses, is that there is a limited supply of rapid tests in the country.

“This is a stunning admission. The Government ordered its own rapid tests too late and now businesses are under pressure because the Government doesn’t have enough tests to make sure the scheme can apply to all.

“The incompetence of this Government also explains why the scheme is so tedious. Close contact critical workers have to provide an order number, two separate letters, two forms of ID, their vaccine pass, and a text message before they can get a rapid test.

“The scheme is bafflingly bureaucratic and could only have been designed by Labour.

“If they hadn’t dropped the ball so badly in 2021 and gotten onto ordering rapid antigen tests when it was clear from countries around the world that they’d be crucial in the next phase of the pandemic, then New Zealand would be in a much better position now.

“The Government banned rapid tests for most of 2021, and only at the tail end of the year allowed a select few companies to import them into the country. Having belatedly recognised their importance, the Government then confiscated the stocks ordered by private companies, including stocks already in the country.

“National’s position is clear - all businesses should be able to have workers who are close contacts of Covid cases return to work using rapid antigen tests.”

© Scoop Media

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