COVID-19: Judith Collins lashes Government over lockdown, calls it 'devastating blow to NZers'

National leader Judith Collins describes the latest lockdown as a "devastating blow" to New Zealanders who have "sacrificed so much to keep this country COVID-free".

Speaking after the Prime Minister plunged Auckland back into alert level 3 and the rest of the country into level 2 following fresh community cases, the leader of the Opposition says the Government "no longer have any excuses for failure".

"I feel for the people who have already sacrificed their livelihoods, their jobs and their businesses to keep COVID-19 out. This will be difficult news for all New Zealanders," Collins says in a statement.

"The Government must now move swiftly to find the source of this latest community outbreak, and to vaccinate our border workers as a matter of urgency."

Collins adds that National has been calling for an accelerated rollout of vaccinations for border workers and frontline staff since January because of the damage a third lockdown could cause.

"Avoiding this very scenario at all costs should have been the Government's top priority," she says.

"If this proves to be another border failure that is unacceptable. The Government's shortcomings in the area have been shown up time and time again.

"The Government was warned. They no longer have any excuses for failure."

ACT leader David Seymour adds he finds it difficult to believe that the Government learned from "damning reports" on our managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) system.

"The person in question appears to have gone two weeks without being tested as an MIQ worker, long enough to have an asymptomatic case of the virus and recover, with nobody being any the wiser. In the event, she was not tested until she took it upon herself to do so," he says in a statement.

"The Government did not take the opportunity to strengthen our defences with better testing and contact tracing, as the Prime Minister claimed. Instead it pinned its hopes on a vaccine while inviting the Wiggles through MIQ.

"We must now hope that the testing and contact tracing capabilities the Government does have are sufficient to isolate the virus before New Zealand faces a full sale lockdown devastating for many sectors of the economy."