David Seymour promises 'full investigation' into Labour's handling of COVID-19 if ACT forms next Government

David Seymour promises 'full investigation' into Labour's handling of COVID-19 if ACT forms next Government
Photo credit: Getty Images


ACT Party leader David Seymour says he will launch a full investigation into the COVID-19 response, if the party forms part of the next Government.

"The current Labour Government doesn't want to be held accountable for its actions, or even know whether it could have done things better. It has treated Kiwis with disdain, and they deserve better from the next government," Seymour told the party faithful at its annual conference in Wellington.

Seymour said he would launch the investigation in the first 100 days of being in power. He would call it investigation 'Glasnost,' the Russian word for transparency and openness.

"Under Labour, the only illumination we get is from gaslighting. It pretends against all rational evidence that actions aren't the reason our health system is crumbling, our businesses are closing, and our Covid cases are still rising," Seymour said.

The independent investigation would call on experts from Sweden, Australia, and Taiwan.

Its terms of reference would include, but not be limited to:

  • The effects of the Government's response on mental health, children's learning, and crime

  • The effects of the Government's response on social cohesion and trust in institutions

  • The fiscal and economic costs of the Government's response, including the use of unconventional monetary policy

  • The cost of quality-adjusted life years saved from COVID in comparison with other challenges

  • Compliance with the Bill of Rights, and whether restrictions were always justifiable in a free and democratic society

  • Absorption of technologies such as for testing and tracing, into the response

  • Relationships with private sector partners including technology suppliers, GPs, and community vaccination centres

  • The quality of advice and the Government's attention to advice from a range of departments other than Health, such as the Ministry of Education and Treasury

  • The timing of vaccine ordering and distribution

Seymour expected the investigation would take a year and save New Zealand billions of dollars if there were to be another pandemic.

"Granted, there will also be variables in the event of a pandemic, but by being upfront with New Zealanders and planning ahead and learning from our past mistakes we can proceed with confidence that our response will protect New Zealanders in a way that doesn't sacrifice their education, mental health, finances, and many other aspects of life," he said.

Seymour also outlined his other demands of a potential coalition with National, including things National has already pledged, such as repealing three waters and the Māori Health Authority.

A Roy Morgan poll last month put ACT on 10 percent, and National on 40 percent.