30 Sep 2021

Covid-19: Elimination strategy no longer works - Judith Collins

From Morning Report, 7:20 am on 30 September 2021

National Party leader Judith Collins says the country and the Government need to accept that the elimination strategy no longer works.

She told Morning Report there have been 17 weeks of lockdowns in the past 18 months and the situation cannot go on.

"Whatever we do, whether we get out of bed in the morning and drive in a car, or we cycle to work, there is always a risk. "

The National Party's border reopening plan released on Wednesday called for a 70 to 75 percent vaccination target for ending lockdowns in New Zealand.

It said the country should open up to the world once 85 to 90 percent of New Zealanders over 12 are vaccinated.

Collins said the plan was checked by experts, who did not want to be named, and government modelling does not include extra measures the party would bring in.

"The Hendy model doesn't take into account all the other measures we'd have in place, such as better contact tracing capability, rolling out saliva testing."

Asked whether Collins would accept a number of deaths resulting from allowing Covid-19 into NZ she said she's not comfortable with people dying unnecessarily but she's a "realist".

"When we drive cars, we have 300 road deaths a year, we don't stop driving cars. We have 500 to 700 flu deaths a year, we have vaccinations, we don't force people to have them. That's a lot of resource. It's a lot of effort. But it's even more importantly, a lot of heartache. So the fact is, is we can't keep locking ourselves up forever."