Coromandel Mayor Sandra Goudie backtracks on 'absolutely ignorant' COVID Tracer App comments

Thames-Coromandel District Mayor Sandra Goudie is backtracking on controversial comments about the COVID Tracer App, saying there was a misunderstanding.

After the announcement of New Zealand's new community case on Tuesday - which had recently travelled to the Coromandel - Goudie told Checkpoint she would not normally scan in when visiting locations and the new case would "probably not" push her to scan more either

"It's very hit and miss for me," she said.

"I'm quite a believer in my credit card tracking everywhere I've been. It's not a habit I've got into."

The comments sparked backlash, including from Nanogirl Dr Michelle Dickinson.

"How is it OK for Coromandel mayor Sandra Goudie to say she doesn't & won’t use the Covid tracer app?" she questioned. 

"Her excuse of using credit card swipes assumes she buys something everywhere she goes & shows lack of understanding of Bluetooth tracing & contact alerts."

Other social media commenters called her comments "unbelievable" and "absolutely ignorant and appalling".

Morning Report host Corin Dann said on Wednesday RNZ had received many complaints regarding the comments and asked Goudie if she had rethought them.

"I didn't say I wasn't scanning in, I said it was a bit hit and miss and I was becoming complacent," she said.

"I think a lot of people have become complacent so it's a matter of just hunkering down again, as I said, and doing all those things - wearing masks, keeping a two metres distance, doing contact tracing - all of those things.

"That's where we are back to again in lockdown so it's a wake-up call to us all."

Thames-Coromandel District Mayor Sandra Goudie.
Thames-Coromandel District Mayor Sandra Goudie. Photo credit: The Project

Goudie was asked why she thought Efptos and credit card receipts were enough for contact tracing, rather than scanning in with QR codes or making notes on the COVID Tracer App.

"I don't disagree [that it makes it easier for contact tracers]," she said.

She said people will now be taking a second look at what they are doing and "taking responsibility for it and doing the right thing".

The Ministry of Health has urged all Kiwis to use the app to assist with contact tracing purposes.

"We encourage all New Zealanders to keep a record of where they have been. Use of the NZ COVID Tracer app or a manual diary remain critical tools in helping to speed up our contact tracing efforts and stop the spread of the virus," a spokesperson said.

The 58-year-old Devonport man who tested positive for COVID-19 Tuesday was a "frequent user" of the app, which the Ministry said was helpful in quickly identifying locations of interest in Auckland and Coromandel.

Text message alerts were sent to people who scanned in using the COVID-19 Tracer App at the locations during the relevant times.