Monday, 5 July 2021

Govt living hand to mouth on vaccine


“Chris Hipkins celebration of 150,000 doses of vaccine arriving is like hooting and hollering for a drop goal while the team of five million is 50 points behind on the score board,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Most of us are happy to get an email or text notification when a package is delivered. Chris Hipkins actually put out a press release!

“It sounds like Hipkins briefed media that people worked through the night to deliver the vaccine. Is this the first time he’s thought about how freight and logistics work across time zones?

“Hipkins’ awe at the overnight delivery reminds me of how the USSR used to celebrate Alexey Stakhanov, the propagandised hero of the Soviet Union who, with three buddies, mined 102 tonnes of coal in six hours. Delivering freight overnight is not quite as awe inspiring, but I guess you have to start somewhere.

“The problem is that, the Government needs 150,000 doses a week for the rest of the year to get everyone vaccinated this year as promised. We wonder what sort of breathlessly heroic communications will be sent out each time a plane lands by, say, September?

“What would be more helpful is if Chris Hipkins explained how New Zealand got from the ‘front of the queue’ last November to the bottom of the OECD seven months later. Just what did happen in those negotiations with Pfizer?

“Was it a mistake to go all in on Pfizer, would we in fact be better with a diversity of suppliers, as the Government originally announced was the strategy last October? If yes, then why are we still waiting for Medsafe to approve vaccines such as AstraZeneca’s that the rest of the world is using?

“These are the questions New Zealanders deserve answers to instead of breathless commentary on mundane logistics.”