“The Prime Minister and her COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins need to do what they’ve advertised following Cabinet this afternoon and make very clear when New Zealand will approve use of vaccines, when they will arrive in the country, and when vaccinations will begin,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Enough of the ‘front of the queue,’ ‘in lock step with Australia,’ and ‘sometime in the first quarter’ nonsense we’ve had to date.

“These assurances have proved either false or unacceptably vague.

“So here are the questions the Government needs to answer, without spin or vacillation for a change:

  1. Has Medsafe to date received all of the same information the Australian regulator the Therapeutic Goods Administration, if not why not?
  2. If so, why hasn’t Medsafe come to the same conclusions as the Therapeutic Goods Administration yet and approved the Pfizer vaccine?
  3. What has Pfizer told the Government about the likelihood of receiving stocks of its vaccine earlier than previously indicated so New Zealand can begin vaccinating frontline workers?
  4. If Pfizer could deliver vaccines earlier than first indicated – say mid-February – would the human resources and other infrastructure be in place to begin vaccinating frontline workers straight away?
  5. When will each of the four vaccines the Government has signed contracts for arrive on New Zealand shores, regardless of the approvals processes being undertaken by Medsafe?
  6. Can the Government narrow down the expected delivery date of each of the four vaccines at least by month; if not why not?
  7. Will the Government release the wording in each contract with the four drug companies it has agreements with regarding delivery dates (in a way that doesn’t breach commercial confidence)?
  8. Was the Government offered options to receive the Pfizer vaccine or any other vaccine on an earlier timeline if it paid more for them?
  9. Are financial penalties negotiated into the contracts that kick in if drug producers don’t meet contracted delivery times?
  10. Has the Government done any planning on more flexible border arrangements for people who have received a full Covid vaccine treatment, now that over 66 million people have been vaccinated, and if so will it tell New Zealanders what that looks like?

“Events in Northland in the past few days have highlighted more than ever why vaccinating frontline workers and then all other New Zealanders as soon as possible is essential, not a nice to have because this country has so far gotten off more lightly than some others.”


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