More could have been done to stop COVID-19 reaching South Island, says Kaikōura MP Stuart Smith


The MP for the Marlborough region claims lax controls contributed to a COVID-19 case detected in Blenheim. 

The person tested positive after arriving on a flight from Rotorua. 

It is the first case in the South Island for nearly a year. 

National MP for Kaikōura Stuart Smith said it was disappointing. 

"Given that lack of care then it's not surprising that it's in the South Island but you know I've been urging people that've got symptoms to get tested and those people that aren't vaccinated to do so as quickly as possible if they so choose." 

Smith believes rapid antigen testing should be carried out on all air and ferry passengers heading to the South Island. 

"If we'd had a rollout of rapid antigen testing pre-flights and / or coming across [on] the ferry into the South Island put in place by now that would've gone some way to protect the South Island." 

The Ministry of Health says the case flew from Rotorua to Blenheim on Thursday and it is believed they are connected to the Te Awamutu case. 

Marlborough Mayor John Leggett said that the region is well-prepared to tackle the case. 

He said an outbreak was always a possibility and authorities have been working hard. 

Leggett said high vaccination rates are the key to stopping the virus spreading.

In the Nelson Marlborough region, 90 percent of residents have had their first dose of the vaccine and 78 percent are fully immunised. 

The Ministry of Health yesterday listed a number of locations of interest in Blenheim in connection with the case including supermarkets, a campground, a hardware store and a bakery. 

Also included in the locations of interest are two Air New Zealand flights on the morning of 21 October first from Rotorua to Wellington and then from Wellington to Blenheim. The Wellington Domestic Airport terminal is also a location of interest. 

  • Mitre 10 MEGA at 174 Alabama Road in Blenheim on Friday 22 October from 2.05pm-4.30pm. 
  • Shosha Blenheim at 17 Queen Street in Blenheim on 22 October between 4pm-5pm. 
  • KiwiCamp Riverlands at 3535 State Highway 1 in Blenheim on 22 October from 12am-7.15pm and also on Thursday 21 October from 10.45am-11.59pm. 
  • Wairau Pharmacy on 47 Scott Street in Blenheim on 21 October from 9.30am-9.45am. 
  • Countdown Blenheim at 51 Arthur Street in Blenheim on 22 October from 4pm to 5pm. 
  • Flight NZ8231 from Rotorua to Wellington on 21 October at 7am to 8.15am. 
  • Wellington Domestic Airport on 21 October from 8.15am to 9am. 
  • Flight NZ8725 Wellington to Blenheim on 21 October from 9am to 9.30am. 
  • Couplands Bakery at 27 Grove Road in Blenheim on 22 October from 2.45pm-3pm. 
  • New World Blenheim at 4 Freswick Street on 21 October from 8pm-8.30pm.