A prominent New Zealand businessman says he's staggered at comments by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern that people should have "a wonderful break - you bloody deserve it".
Sir Ian Taylor has been trying to push the Government to make improvements to our COVID-19 response, particularly at the border. Last month, he used a trip to the US to highlight some of the improvements that could be made.
He's now criticising politicians and health officials for taking a Christmas break - given the recent arrival of the Omicron variant on our shores.
Sir Ian told Newstalk ZB the current situation is "one of the most dangerous times of this pandemic".
"The Prime Minister said to everyone, 'Go take your break, you bloody deserve it' and I was staggered by that. Nobody should be talking about a break right now.
"Summer should be where we have the best opportunity to start putting defences in place for the upcoming onslaught which is winter. Winter will bring in the flu, it will bring in COVID.
"We already missed 16 months, where we did nothing, to shore up the defences and the idea that parliamentarians pat themselves on the back saying, 'You've done really well' … there is nothing to congratulate themselves about."
Sir Ian called on Ardern "to accept that we aren't here whinging… we are here offering help. We just want to sit at a desk with her for an hour and outline the steps we could take to make this the safest country in the world".
"We've actually missed some steps - let's fill those in before this gets out of control," he told Newstalk ZB.
The Government has been contacted for a response to Sir Ian's comments.
It last week celebrated New Zealand hitting 90 percent fully vaccinated. COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said Kiwis had worked hard a deserved a Christmas break.
"Their commitment means all New Zealanders are safer and more protected, and can get back to doing the things they love, whether it's travelling to catch up with friends and family for Christmas, heading out to restaurants, pubs and cafes, or enjoying the many festivals and outdoor events planned for the summer."