Will Aussie RATs be stopped at the border?

Thu, 24 Feb, 2022

“As New Zealand get ready to finally let Kiwis from Australia back into the country, the Government needs to be clear about whether anyone carrying in their own Rapid Antigen Test will have it removed,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Our government has jealously guarded access to RAT test and made many of them illegal to everyday Kiwis. At present Australia allows 26 different types of home use test and 67 point of care tests but few of them are available here.

“Kiwis in Australia have been able to freely buy Rapid Antigen Tests at the supermarket, and many have been regularly using them. Now they’re allowed to return home, will Customs search their luggage and confiscate any they bring in? Will they be fined for doing so?

“According to a Gazette notice if a Kiwi brings one with them into New Zealand they would be searched and have it seized. The Government needs to tell us whether Customs are under instruction to do this.

“It might sound absurd, but just this week the Ministry of Health sent back a shipment of 2000 Rapid Antigen Tests imported from Australia by an Auckland High School, despite them being approved in Australia and having a higher efficacy rate than the Ministry requires.

“Kiwis who have already been through the emotional wringer by not being able to return home should not fear being searched and having RATs taken from them.

“The cost of failing to secure RATs after banning them, then selectively allowing them, then confiscating them is huge. Productive time will be lost as people who are negative have to keep isolating because they can’t prove it, unable to work or see friends and family. We should welcome them coming in from Australia.

“Testing capacity in New Zealand is at breaking point. We need RATs as an alternative to PCR testing and if people can bring in their own, they should be able to.

“The Government needs to immediately approve all tests that are approved in Australia and give an assurance to Kiwis returning home they won’t be searched and have their tests taken.”