'The shambles continues': Todd Muller savages Government, Air Commodore Webb over new COVID-19 quarantine dramas

Air Commodore Digby Webb and Megan Woods are "serving up nonsense" in their new roles and have done nothing to solve the Government's COVID-19 border woes, Todd Muller says.

The National Party leader says the Government's mismanagement of quarantine facilities - which started last week with two coronavirus-carrying sisters being allowed to leave an Auckland hotel without being tested - has been "shambolic".

Since then, it's been revealed hundreds of people were allowed to leave managed isolation or quarantine facilities without a single COVID-19 test.

Other blunders include travellers being kept in isolation beyond 14 days due to testing delays, a large party held at a quarantine facility and a group of 10 people being allowed out early to attend a burial.

When asked by Magic Talk's Peter Williams whether things had improved under the management of Woods and Air Commodore Webb - who were appointed to border quarantine roles last week - Muller gave a blunt assessment.

"From what I can see thus far, no [things haven't improved]," he said.

"For the last 24-48 hours, the shambles continues. People coming off planes, being supposedly sent to Auckland hotels only to find out at the last minute they're not now suitable.

"It beggars belief, doesn't it? From what we've all been through, to be served up this nonsense is just extraordinary."

Muller was referring to an incident over the weekend in which hundreds of new arrivals were controversially transported to Rotorua without consultation after Auckland's hotels filled up.

National MP Todd McClay claims staff at the Rotorua hotel weren't prepared for the influx of new arrivals, and deputy leader Nikki Kaye told Newshub people living in serviced apartments at some of the new isolation sites weren't told either.

He says Kiwis sacrificed a lot by cooperating with the Government's strategy to plunge New Zealand into lockdown for several weeks, and expect a certain level of competence to stop that being required again.

"[Lockdown] already cost 40,000 jobs in the single month of April... It was predicated on the fact that once we got essentially to zero, we would manage our border in such a way that kept the risk basically to that level," Muller said.

"What we've seen is a shambolic, hopeless management of the border - and what's worse from my perspective, no accountability... These guys have no ability to be accountable for anything."

"That's typical of this Government: they're fantastic at speeches, absolutely hopeless at delivery. When the pressure comes on, [they] just throw more resources at it and think that's enough - well it's not."

Last Friday, Muller called Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Health Minister Dr David Clark "weak", saying they should cop the blame for the border blunder that led to two new coronavirus cases being allowed to leave an Auckland hotel on compassionate grounds.

He says Dr Clark has been guilty of not asking the right questions during the Government's recent COVID-19 debacle, while Ardern showed she's incapable of "holding his feet to the fire" over it.

In a press conference last week, Ardern acknowledged there had been a "failure of the system" but said she was focused on fixing the problems, not finding the people responsible. 

"I'm not interested in going down to individuals and finding out exactly who [was involved]. We do need to know what happened so we can fix it, it's not a witch hunt," she said. 

"We have had a setback in people's confidence, it's our job to restore it."

Correction: An earlier version of this article cited another news source when it incorrectly stated as many as 2400 people had been allowed to leave a managed isolation facility without a test. The Government has not revealed the exact figures, but only 2159 people left the facilities between June 9 and 16, and it is not clear how many of these were tested.