Businesses call for simplified COVID tracing app system

Businesses are calling for a streamlined and simplified COVID tracing app system. They say the Government app is too hard to sign up for.

One app here and paper sign-in sheet there.

It took just a short walk through central Wellington to see the array of different contact tracing methods on offer.

Wellington bar owner Jeremy Smith opted for the site 'Webfox'  because it took half an hour to set up and is easy to use.

He found the Government's contact tracing app much harder.

"It's so complicated. We had four businesses try to register and it took combined 16 hours," he says.

"Ideally, there should just be one system."

The Government app's had more than 32,000 QR posters created by businesses. Compare that to 1700 business registrations for alternative app Rippl.

"To register for the Rippl QR the process is very simple, very straight forward. The Government one takes a bit more effort," Rippl producer Antony Dixon says.

Effort indeed. Businesses need to go through MBIE's 'Business Connect'  to get a QR code poster.

But before they sign up they need a RealMe login, a New Zealand Business Number and registered authority over the business.

 Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield is defending the process.

"It's not a lengthy or troublesome operation," he says.

"We are looking at this very point in time at a requirement on businesses to do so as we move into alert level 1."

While the Ministry of Health cannot yet say if businesses will be required to contact trace under level 1, Hospitality New Zealand says it's working directly with Government on streamlining the COVID tracer app.

And an expert believes consistency is within our reach.

"There's such a lot of technical ability in New Zealand, there's no reason we can't do the best job in the world," says AUT computer science professor Dr Dave Parry.