Coronavirus: Labour MP David Parker says it's 'impossible to do much better' than NZ when it comes to COVID-19, despite new case

Senior Labour MP David Parker says it's "impossible to do much better" than New Zealand when it comes to COVID-19, despite a new mystery case in Auckland.

Auckland is facing a potential third lockdown on Friday after a student tested positive for the virus this week with no clear link to any previously known cases. There is concern of a wider outbreak, as she was reportedly forced to go to work by her manager at a High St clothing store, despite being sick and waiting for the results of her COVID test.

"I think everyone's disappointed that we've had another case that we haven't yet locked down the source of," Parker told The AM Show on Friday.

"But we know the drill - we've been here before... We just all hope that we can contain this cluster in a narrow margin so that we can avoid any escalation." 

There is early genome sequencing evidence the case could be linked to the Defence Force cluster. Parker said they weren't yet ready to raise Auckland's alert level, as they did in August when a few cases sprung up seemingly out of nowhere.

"We're not at that point yet. We're investigating how broad this cluster is, if it is a cluster or just a single case, trying to establish that link back to the Defence case."

David Parker and Simon Bridges in a previous appearance on The AM Show.
David Parker and Simon Bridges in a previous appearance on The AM Show. Photo credit: The AM Show

National MP Simon Bridges, appearing on The AM Show with Parker, was hesitant to criticise the Government's handling of the pandemic, which has been hailed worldwide. He did express concern that basic things weren't being done at the border to prevent the need for more extreme measures.

"Follow the advice. We are concerned, we are all in this together, but actually there have been several incursions in the last two or three months. We want to make sure we are doing the simple, effective stuff at the get-go up front, so we don't have to face the massive cost and inconvenience of lockdown."

There have been reports of people coming and going from the Vincent St apartment building where the infected person lived, despite residents being told to self-isolate. Parker said it was a "fair point", and Minister for COVID-19 Response Chris Hipkins would be looking into it "first thing" Friday morning. 

Asked if a complete border closure had been considered, Parker said no.

"New Zealanders do have rights to return to their country. We're not contemplating closing the border completely - we have got it pretty much locked down. We are managing this very well... We've already got more freedoms than virtually any other country in the world. Although it's disappointing that we have this case, I think most understand that this is impossible to do much better."

He reiterated his previous claims that a vaccine would likely be available by June, saying we were now "over halfway through" the crisis.

"We're on the home run. We've just got to keep it under control."