COVID-19: Labour's Greg O'Connor says Govt is 'listening to the science' as National calls for Auckland cluster probe

National leader Judith Collins says the Government should be aiming to improve its COVID-19 response and is calling for an investigation into the Auckland February cluster.

In a statement on Sunday, Collins said lockdowns are costing the economy $500 million per week and must be avoided.

One week ago, Auckland entered a seven-day lockdown after several cases of COVID-19 were found in the community. On Friday, Cabinet decided to shift Auckland back to the less restrictive alert level 2 as of 6am on Sunday.

Collins is now criticising the Government's response to the cluster, including the checkpoints at Auckland's boundary that resulted in hours-long queues to enter the region.

"This week we've found out that our contact tracing isn't the 'gold standard' the Government would have us think," Collins said on Sunday.

"We haven't met critical measures in the latest two outbreaks, and all locations of interest haven't been disclosed to the public.

Judith Collins.
Judith Collins. Photo credit: The AM Show

"How the domestic border is managed needs improvement too. There were long queues of people trying to get back to Auckland last weekend, and late on Friday afternoon students trying to head home from boarding school were blocked from being reunited with their families at the border with no reasonable explanation."

But Labour MP Greg O'Connor told Magic Talk's Sunday Cafe the Government rejected listening to advice from "politicians and ill-informed advisors".

"We're listening to the science," he told host Roman Travers.

"The only way - when you've got all these different voices seeking airtime, which is all it is, is to ensure you listen to science."

Since Auckland was placed into alert level 3 lockdown last Sunday, no new cases of COVID-19 have been detected in the community. 

But Collins said going into lockdown in the first place should have only been a last resort.

"If anything, this week has shown New Zealand there is a lot we can work on in our response when community cases arise," she said.

"We should always be aiming to improve, so an inquiry into the Valentine's Day cluster is appropriate."

An update on the latest COVID-19 case numbers will be given at 1pm on Sunday.