“As the number of first doses dwindles, it’s time to bring in ACT’s Vax Break, a $250 tax credit for anyone who gets vaccinated by December 1,” says ACT Leader David Seymour. 

“The fact is, life will be no better or worse for those not vaccinated if the country moves to the traffic light system. There is currently no incentive for them to get the jab. The problem is, everyone else is relying on them to get vaccinated before they can get free.

“Under Alert Level 3 Step 2 in Auckland, you will be able to go to a shop, have contactless hospitality without vaccination, but won’t be able to get a haircut. If Auckland moves to Red as promised, things stay the same for those not vaccinated. 

“Under Alert Level 2 in the rest of the country, you can shop, go to bars, and have your hair cut without vaccination. If the rest of New Zealand moves to Orange, as promised, you’ll have to do contactless hospo only, and you won’t be able to get a haircut. You are better off staying unvaccinated.

“These terrible incentives may explain why first doses are plummeting. In the week 5-11 November, there were 16,945 doses per day, the next week included Super Saturday and 16,995 people got their first dose each day, the next week there were 9,054, the past seven days the average was 8,732 per day. 

“At current rates, Auckland won’t get to 90 per cent for each DHB until November 28, the South Island until December 10, and the rest of the North Island until January 17 next year. Of course, all those projections are optimistic. First dose rates are slowing down every week, and the incentives are terrible.

“ACT’s Vax Break policy would reduce Government revenue by $1 billion and those eligible for the tax credit will need to be fully vaccinated by 1 December.

“When you file your tax return next year, proof of vaccination by My COVID Record will qualify you for a $250 vaccination tax credit. However, you can also redeem it at any time, even on the day of your second vaccination, to receive an additional $250 cash payment. If you redeem it early, your vaccination record no longer qualifies you to get the credit when filing.

“It would be a well-deserved boost for Kiwis who work hard and have done the right thing just before Christmas. The tax credit is a week’s worth of groceries, a couple of tanks of petrol or Christmas presents for the kids.

“New Zealanders pay far too much tax. Finance Minister Grant Robertson, aka Grabby Grant, set a record in the past year for the highest tax take ever, $97 billion – $13 billion more than the previous record.

“The Government uses tax on tobacco and alcohol to cover healthcare for related diseases. Being fully vaccinated reduces pressure on our health system so people should be rewarded for reducing pressure on ICUs.

“The Government needs to get more creative with its thinking. It’s happy to spend the COVID fund on cameras on fishing boats and a business case for the replacement of Te Papa's Spirit Collection Area. It’s happy to tax, tax, tax – but never considers giving you back your money.

“ACT will be here to make constructive criticisms where necessary and helpful suggestions where possible, while asking the questions New Zealanders need answered.”