Coronavirus: New Zealand should consider quitting lockdown early, David Seymour says

Ending New Zealand's coronavirus lockdown before the prescribed four-week period is up "should definitely be on the cards" for the Government, David Seymour says.

Last month, the Prime Minister announced the country would escalate its COVID-19 response to alert level 4, meaning New Zealanders would have to self-isolate unless they were employed in essential work or accessing an essential service.

The lockdown is down to last four weeks, but ACT Party leader Seymour says the Government should consider cutting it off early if it's possible to do so without causing a public health catastrophe.

"I think [lifting the lockdown early] should definitely be on the cards," he told Magic Talk host Peter Williams on Tuesday morning.

"Every day that we are locked down people are losing money, they're losing businesses, they've got mental health issues that are going to arise.

"Every day that we stay on lockdown matters. When we lift the restrictions and go to a lower level of alert is the most important decision in New Zealand right now."

After less than two weeks of lockdown - and the forced trading halt on non-essential businesses as a result - the New Zealand economy has been decimated and thousands of Kiwis have lost their jobs or taken pay cuts.

The economic outlook will get worse the longer the country remains at alert level 4, but the Prime Minister has no plans to shorten the four-week lockdown period despite the growth of new cases easing off in the last few days. 

On Monday, Jacinda Ardern told media that while the recent signs were promising, four weeks allowed health authorities to get a handle on the outbreak and prevent further transmission of the disease.

However Seymour says this doesn't have to be the case, and believes New Zealand can come out of it earlier if the Government obtains good-quality testing and economic data and shares it with Kiwis.

He says this data - and New Zealanders' access to it - is crucial so that the public can have a say on when the country lifts lockdown restrictions and other major COVID-19 decisions.

"If we're going to 'Unite Against COVID-19' - as we're told ad nauseam every time we turn on any kind of radio or device - the Government needs to start being open with its data," he said.

"It needs to get better data and share it so that we can all make this decision at the right time - rather than lifting too early, and potentially the virus gets out and we get a lot of lives lost and more economic destruction; or lifting too late, in which case the carnage that people will be feeling on the economic front will be worse."

David Seymour has been a major advocate for Kiwis' right to access key data during the coronavirus crisis. Last week, he called on NZ Police to release advice they received from Crown Law on how to enforce lockdown rules.