David Seymour calls for Covid-19 mandates to be scrapped

Source: Q and A

ACT Party leader David Seymour is calling for the Government to scrap its Covid-19 mandates in favour of learning to live with the virus.

It comes as Covid-19 continues to run rampant across the country, with New Zealand on Saturday recording 13,606 community cases and 263 people in hospital with the virus.

“Throughout this pandemic, ACT has said we’re here to make constructive criticisms where necessary and helpful suggestions where possible. We’ve done four comprehensive policy papers filled with proposals throughout it – ‘move on’ is the latest one,” he told Q+A.

“It’s very simple: It says Omicron is different, it spreads faster and… it’s much milder so the cost of stopping the spread is much higher and the benefits of reducing cases are much lower."

Seymour said while there are fears around widespread community transmission and a strong desire to reduce hospitalisations, he believes the benefits of the current policies does not exceed the cost.

“Every business is required to display a QR code and you’re legally supposed to scan in – it’s not making any difference. We should just dump it."

He said the MIQ system should also be scrapped, adding that we, “have more cases in New Zealand than just about any other country at the moment and yet we’re trying to lock them out at huge cost to tourism, to business, to separated families”.

“We should just dump it because it’s not making a difference.”

Seymour said while he remains a strong supporter of vaccination, he also called for an end to vaccine mandates, saying they are “continuing to exclude people from a whole range of aspects of life” which will make “very little difference to whether they catch it”.

“It may slightly delay when they catch it but it’s not going to change the overall outcome and so we have to ask ourselves, ‘Why do we keep doing this to ourselves?’

“Let’s move on from rules that don’t make sense and start balancing some of those other needs that New Zealanders have which are mounting so we can move back to talking about - things like the cost of living, the difficulty with housing and child poverty - 'cause those things have mounted up and been ignored in the meantime.

“Is it worth living in a climate of fear, killing hospitality, killing large events when in reality, at best, it will change the timing of when people catch it and probably not by very much because people are catching it in such a wide range of settings anyway?

“We’re going to the same place – why do we persevere with these costs that are so devastating to so many aspects of people’s lives?”

READ MORE: Luxon calls for easing of mandates after Omicron peaks

National Party leader Chris Luxon last week called for the easing of mandates.

He said while they "were justified for a while as a temporary measure as we battled Covid and lifted vaccination rates", "what we need from the Government is an honest conversation and some straight talking over the issue of mandates".

"We should get rid of mandates progressively and carefully once we are through the peak of Omicron."

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern last week said that there would be a time, "where we're in a position to move away from restrictions, in the same way we moved away from lockdowns and that we're opening our borders... but right now is not that time".