National's Gerry Brownlee says returning New Zealanders owe 'team of five million', must pay for isolation

The deputy leader of the National Party says returning New Zealanders "owe" payment for their managed isolation. 

Gerry Brownlee spoke to Sean Plunket on Magic Talk Afternoons saying he believes "most people" are growing impatient over border control.

"Most people have been experiencing growing angst over the border control issue," he told Plunket.

Brownlee announced on Saturday that if elected, National would charge single returning adults $3000 each for their managed isolation, with an additional $1000 for extra adults per room and $500 for children. Children under three would be exempt.

Hours later Minister Megan Woods said she welcomed the proposal, calling it a "good sign" there will be support for a move towards charging people.

Brownlee said on Monday he believes people returning from overseas are indebted to those who have stayed in New Zealand.

"People coming back to New Zealand,  having lived overseas for a time or for whatever reason been away for so long, have to pay their dues to the team of five million who have got the country into such a good shape," he said.

He acknowledged the "extraordinary" agreement of Labour, saying he found it surprising the Minister in charge of managed isolation had agreed so quickly.

"It's a little surprising that a couple of hours after we announced, [Labour was] out there too."

Not all the political parties are pleased with the concept however - ACT leader David Seymour rubbished the idea saying he didn't understand why New Zealanders should pay "a poor quality, Government monopoly".

He is pushing for a private enterprise to be in charge of managed isolation, saying it would be a "safer, cheaper" option.

"Allowing private providers to offer managed isolation would also expand our capacity. We risk the economy slowly grinding to a halt as projects of all kinds wait on essential workers from overseas, unless we find a way to safely reengage with the world."

 

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