Q'town MP: Government needs to abandon test kit controls
Queenstown MP Joseph Mooney is calling on the Government to make rapid antigen test kits available for all workers, either to access or buy, so that “everyone can get back to work”.
In a letter to Covid Response Minister Chris Hipkins, Mr Mooney calls on the government to “step back from its incredibly strict control over the supply of rapid antigen tests, allow everyone to buy and access them, and let everyone get back to work and keep their businesses running”.
Speaking to Crux this afternoon, Mr Mooney said:
“Throughout this pandemic, businesses in my Southland Electorate, especially those who rely heavily on tourism, events and hospitality in Queenstown and Te Anau, have barely survived these extraordinary times.
“Now they are facing what appears to be an insurmountable hurdle, with the Government completely failing them with their lack of action around rapid antigen tests.
“While the ongoing decline in tourist traffic has already decimated incomes and employment opportunities in the region, the red traffic light system and self-isolation rules have further contributed to the downward spiral of many.
“Businesses that took the Government at its word for its new scheme also find themselves at the mercy of a bureaucratic system that determines their and their workers' fate.
“Some businesses have found out that they don't qualify for the Close Contact Exemption scheme under its current 'critical' rules. Their employees who are required to self-isolate but cannot readily work from home will have to find other ways of supporting themselves and their families.”
Mr Mooney added that:
“Every business is an essential business. Every employee is critical to their family and their employer. Now is not the time for bureaucrats to decide who is a critical business or not and put whole families and their livelihoods at risk.”