16 Jul 2020

New health spokesperson Dr Shane Reti on his approach to Covid-19 in opposition

9:46 am on 16 July 2020

National's new health spokesperson Dr Shane Reti says he will be collaborative with the government on the Covid-19 response, but will still be holding them to account.

National MP Shane Reti.

National MP Dr Shane Reti. Photo: Supplied / National Party

Dr Reti yesterday replaced Michael Woodhouse as the party's health spokesperson and has been promoted to the front bench.

Woodhouse had been under pressure over the past few weeks as the Covid-19 patient leak scandal - which took out party stalwart Michelle Boag and MP Hamish Walker - unfolded.

And with former party leader Todd Muller's resignation, new leader Judith Collins acted quickly to remove Woodhouse from the health portfolio.

Dr Reti has been the MP for Whangārei since 2014 and is now the highest ranked Māori in the National Party caucus.

He told Morning Report Collins has drawn a line under the leaked health information and New Zealanders can trust the party.

"As a caucus, we're ready to move on."

He said if National was in government, they would have centralised decision making about Covid-19 much more quickly.

"The government response was good, not great, but good."

Dr Reti said as health spokesperson he would take a collaborative approach to help the government with key policies, but will also be looking for gaps in the system and holding them to account.

He said the border can be opened cautiously and safely to allow in international students.

"We still want to make sure our isolation procedures are sound."

Dr Reti suggested we look to the Australian model for returnees where there is an expectation they spend the majority of isolation in their rooms.

"Their isolation procedures are several steps higher than ours are," he said.

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