National leader Judith Collins says Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's recent Covid decisions were being influenced by "fear", and risked taking the country down a "rabbit hole" turning the country into a "hermit kingdom".
Collins was pushing for the country to relax international border settings, following the news Air New Zealand would cancel more than 1000 flights to Australia by the end of the year because of rigorous MIQ requirements.
"We want an end to the MIQ system. We are saying today that the Prime Minister needs to be able to confirm that New Zealanders can travel to and from Australia for Christmas,"
"There needs to be an opening up of the transtasman bubble," Collins said.
"We need to stop this fortress mentality that we have and we need to reconnect with the world in a safe way."
She said this would mean opening the border to people who were double vaccinated and did not have Covid-19.
"Where is the risk? There is no risk, you can't transmit Covid if you don't have Covid."
Collins said the risk from these people was so low - the greater risk to the country was Ardern's own fear.
"They are not the risk at the moment - the risk at the moment is this fear that seems to be influencing the Prime Minister's decisions.
"Where is the risk? The risk is that we go down some rabbit hole of basically a hermit kingdom and not be able to come out of that without this fear of everything.
"We need to get on with our lives, we need to get people vaccinated, but we need to do it without fear and without threats."
She said the current Covid settings showed "callous disregard for the value of people's interactions with their families. It simply doesn't make sense for people who are double vaccinated and don't have a choice but to be treated in this way".
On Tuesday morning, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins defended the border settings, saying Covid-19 cases from overseas posed a greater risk to Kiwis than domestic cases.
"There is a different risk profile for international cases compared to domestic cases, people who test positive in the community are part of our contact tracing system.
"It's different when you're bringing people across the border, you're talking about new introductions of the virus, potential spreads amongst a number of people before we even know about it.
"We were pretty clear for some time now that we are looking at the first quarter [of 2022] for significant movement at the border.
"The restrictions we have got at the border have put people in some difficult positions - no one takes that lightly."
Hipkins said Cabinet would be making decisions on the border "fairly soon". He said Cabinet discussed border settings at Cabinet on Monday, but no decision was made.
The Government is awaiting health advice on opening the border further.
Collins also had a swing at the Government's implementation of the new Auckland boundary policy.
From December 15, the Government will allow double vaccinated people to pass through the Auckland boundary. However, the boundary will only be lightly enforced by spot checks with possible further restrictions on the northern boundary.
"The whole thing becomes a riddle and actually - this is not a Dr Seuss bedtime story, this is people's lives that are being treated exactly as if they are in a Dr Seuss story," Collins said.