“The Government is all at sea on timelines for Australia and New Zealand’s respective vaccine roll-outs, with the worst news coming from the mouth of Pfizer Australia CEO Anne Harris,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Yesterday, under increasing pressure to explain the now clear divergence between Australia and New Zealand’s roll-outs, Jacinda Ardern stuck to her claim there would be little difference between the two countries’ timelines.

“Asked by the New Zealand Herald how she could stand by that position when Australia still believed vaccination would start in February and New Zealand was still scheduled for April, the Prime Minister tried to cast doubt on Australia’s timeline.

“To support her position she referred to ‘multiple articles’ about vaccine supply issues, querying whether countries ‘were receiving vaccines at the rate that they expected.’

“She went on to say, ‘Australia has not received the vaccine yet; New Zealand hasn’t either. There’s nothing to suggest, though, that we will be receiving them with great distance between receipt of those products ... on us relative to Australia, I’ve seen no suggestion why we would receive it in any different timeline to them.’

“Unfortunately for the Prime Minister she can’t have caught up with the ABC’s interview with Ms Harris the previous day when she said unequivocally of Pfizer’s upcoming first shipment to Australia ‘we are still on track, the intention was mid-to-late February, we are still on track to deliver those first doses within February.’

“That must finally be the death knell for the propaganda the Government has been issuing about New Zealand being ‘in lock step’ with Australia. Or is the Prime Minister suggesting the head of Pfizer Australia is wrong?

“Surely now the Prime Minister must admit that by the time our first doses of the Pfizer vaccine arrive here – ‘by the end of the first quarter’ – Australia may have inoculated almost as many people as there are in this country.”