COVID-19: Labour's Willie Jackson accuses The National Party of 'causing panic' over isolation escapee

Labour's Willie Jackson is accusing National of causing panic over a man who escaped managed isolation this week before testing positive for COVID-19.

The man, aged 32, absconded from Auckland's Stamford Hotel on Tuesday.

It was the second time in the space of a few days someone had escaped from an isolation hotel after a 43-year-old woman escaped from another facility in Auckland on Saturday.

The escapee caused outrage and Minister in charge of managed isolation Megan Woods announced on Thursday a 24-hour police presence will now be enforced at quarantine facilities.

Jackson told The AM Show on Friday 30,000 people had been through managed isolation and only two had "got away".

"And then we have the madness - it's called the mad strategy from Mark Richardson and The National Party," Jackson told host Duncan Garner.

"Thirty-thousand people we've looked after - we've got everything in place, we've got an open economy, New Zealanders are happy.

"Here's the thing - you guys are almost baying for something terrible to happen."  

Sportsreader Richardson said one person escaping from quarantine was "totally unacceptable". He said the country was in lockdown when New Zealand had "about 10" cases of community transmission and it was about "risk associated with a very very small percentage".

"But we don't go crazy Mark," Jackson shot back, adding he believed National "liked causing panic out there".

However, National leader Todd Muller has been kept largely quiet over the escapee debacle after it was revealed this week one of his MPs - now-former Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker - leaked details about New Zealand's COVID-19 patients.

National MP Judith Collins said Walker "has now lost his career".

"It was a very, very, very disappointing and terrible thing to do - I'm just appalled for the 18 people whose personal health information was put out there."

Jackson said it was the nastiest act from a politician in recent times.

Collins said it was hard to know why Walker and former National President Michelle Boag - who leaked the information to Walker - would do such a thing.

"I'm looking forward to that Ministerial inquiry to tell us what was actually going on."

Health Minister Chris Hipkins launched an investigation into the leak on Saturday. Walker on Tuesday outed himself as the person who leaked the information to three media outlets.

"This is a very disappointing situation. It does have a ring of dirty politics about it and I think that could be very sad for the forthcoming election campaign," Hipkins said on Tuesday.