National Party has slammed the government’s alleged targeting of one country over the other instead of creating “smart borders we were promised.”

National’s Covid-19 Response spokesperson Chris Bishop has come out in full support of the New Zealand-Indian community and is urging the government to improve their border management rather than taking recourse to travel suspension.

National appreciates our New Zealand-Indian community and places a huge value on everything they contribute to our country both economically and socially, Mr Bishop says.

“The people arriving from India with Covid-19 didn’t want to catch this virus or pass it on to others. We would hate to see a situation where Kiwis are torn apart from family in India for long periods of time because our Government can’t get its border defences right.”

Where are our smart borders?

“National has been saying, since January, that if you arrive in New Zealand from a higher-risk destination then you should go into a high-risk hotel,” Mr Bishop says.

“People from higher-risk destinations, like India, should not be mixing and mingling in MIQ with passengers from the Pacific Islands, for example.”

Mr Bishop says it’s time for the Government to introduce rapid antigen testing for all people getting off international flights in New Zealand.

“You have the results in as little as 15 minutes and if anyone tests positive then they are immediately moved to quarantine and have their results confirmed by a standard PCR test.

“Day zero and day one tests are a critical part of our border defences but returnees can be in an MIQ facility for up to 24 hours waiting for the results, potentially spreading Covid-19 if they are positive.”

Why border worker have not been vaccinated?

The most concerning aspect of today’s Covid-19 revelations is that the border worker who tested positive had not been vaccinated, and that the Government doesn’t appear to know why, Mr Bishop says.

"Everyone in New Zealand will want to know why this border worker wasn't vaccinated, and how many other staff out there in our border and MIQ facilities haven’t yet received a vaccine - and why they haven’t received a vaccine.