Govt 'absolutely not' taking RATs off businesses - Ardern

Source: 1News

Jacinda Ardern says the Government has “absolutely not” taken rapid antigen supplies off businesses.

It comes after a medical supply company in New Zealand on Wednesday accused the Government of “commandeering” the country’s RAT stock.

Health Works claims it was told the Government was seconding its rapid antigen tests. The company's director Claire Connor said they had $100,000 worth of tests on order before they were told it was instead going to the Government.

When asked by a reporter about the government's so-called commandeering of RAT stocks on Thursday morning, the Prime Minister shut down the idea.

“What we have in country is what the Ministry of Health has ordered,” she said.

“Keeping in mind that there are other rapid antigen tests in country, I have spoken to a number of businesses who have their own supply.

“If you’re implying we have taken the supply of others - absolutely not.”

Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield was asked about supplies on Wednesday.

Rapid Antigen test

He said rapid antigen tests had not been commandeered, but suppliers had been asked to prioritise the Government's order.

The government expects onshore stocks will reach 20 million by the end of February.

Ardern has previously said that rapid antigen testing will be available more widely in New Zealand, and used as part of the Government's three-phase Omicron response.