Sunday, 12 September 2021

Kiwis kept flightless by vaccine passport go slow


“The Government has issued 4.3 million doses of Pfizer vaccine and, as is this Government’s way, forgot to issue any kind of proof,” says ACT Leader David Seymour
 
“I first asked Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern about the passports allowing New Zealanders to travel internationally in March, and again in April. She said they were working on it.
 
“Six months later, they’re still working on it. Meanwhile New Zealanders who want to prove their vaccination status internationally have to get a letter from the Ministry of Health. The Ministry says they’ll endeavour to provide letters within 20 working days, we are stuck in the pre-internet era.
 
“Other New Zealanders are reported as getting ‘quad-vaxxed’ so they can travel overseas. Twice by the New Zealand Government, and two more times by another Government that actually issues recognised proof of vaccination for travel.
 
“The lack of proof of vaccination would be understandable if the Government’s vaccination scheme had been rushed, but sadly New Zealand’s vaccine stroll out has been the opposite. As with everything, the lack of proof of vaccination is too little, too late, and New Zealand remains the poor cousin, defined by isolation.
 
“Now the Government will face a nightmare trying to link a new digital vaccine passport with NHI numbers, while many vaccinated people will not have provided their NHI when being vaccinated.
 
“People will claim they were vaccinated, but did not show ID, as the Prime Minister has insisted they don’t need to. There will be no way to prove they didn’t.
 
“What the Government should have done is have the NZ COVID Tracer App upgraded at the beginning of the year. It should have allowed for people to store their status, privately, on their device. That information they held would form a key that could be transferred to any new pass, including those overseas. It might have been very helpful that the developer of the NZ COVID Tracer App also worked on the NHS health app. 
 
“ACT has been campaigning of over a year now for the Government to adapt a tech-enabled, better Governed COVID response that works with the private sector. It appears New Zealand’s approach to proof of vaccination will be just another example of why the Government should heed ACT’s advice."