Thursday, 17 June 2021

Another vaccine announcement, still no progress


“This Government’s vaccine rollout is reminiscent of a losing test cricket team desperately trying to increase the run rate as the days go by,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“The Government is assuring us that we’ll all be vaccinated by the end of the year but we’re currently last in the OECD and vaccinations won’t be available to the wider population until at least October.

“Hardworking New Zealanders feel neglected by bungling bureaucrats still not telling the truth.

“It took them six months too long to contact pharmaceutical companies, too long to sign the contracts and left it too late to get the software sorted.

“Today’s announcement on top of an announcement shows what New Zealanders already knew, the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is vaccinating.

“The Government has failed to establish a practical network for vaccine rollout with the most obvious participants, pharmacies and GPs left out.

“This is a Government that literally couldn’t organise a vaccination in a pharmacy.

“Every broken promise by this Government erodes the trust and confidence in New Zealanders.

“It’s time the team of five million got a new captain.

“Age cohorts was something ACT suggested in our COVID 2.0 plan released in March and something Australia announced it would do in February.

“There are still plenty of other ideas ACT has for the immediate next steps of New Zealand’s response to COVID-19 and a longer term strategy for living in a progressively vaccinated world.

“It is underpinned by five principles: government transparency; faster tech uptake; risk-proportionate responses; a culture of inviting criticism; and maximising human wellbeing.

“It also makes 15 policy recommendations, including:

  • Compulsory COVID-app use including Bluetooth functionality to improve contact tracing
  • Introduce daily PCR saliva testing and the use of Datamine’s ëlarm technology to the border and MIQ workforce to alert them to early signs of infection
  • An Epidemic Response Unit modelled off Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Centre to replace COVID-19 response leadership by the Ministry of Health
  • Reactivate Parliament’s Epidemic Response Committee

“Investigating and doing these things requires the Government being prepared to put the effort and resources into them.

“Whatever that resource may be, ACT’s view is the cost will be considerably less than further lockdowns caused by inadequate measures at the border, patchy contact tracing, and a slow vaccination roll-out.”