Monday, 15 March 2021

Time to tell us what vaccine will mean


“The Prime Minister must come to this afternoon’s post-Cabinet press conference with much more information on the impact of New Zealand’s vaccine rollout than her last two previous efforts,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Last week we were given what the Government calls a sequencing framework for the vaccine rollout, but it was more like a precis of a rollout filled with uncertainty.

“People can’t plan their lives with uncertainty – it’s high time the Government started filling in the gaps.

“Questions about the vaccine go beyond the rollout too.

“Here’s just a few questions the Prime Minister needs to be able to answer when she fronts media this afternoon:

  1. What does the Government think widespread vaccination will mean for New Zealanders’ ability to travel overseas and for others to travel here?
  2. Will this involve some sort of vaccine passport, and if so what will that passport need to include – the fact someone has been vaccinated or evidence of an immune response?
  3. If that latter, how is that going to be measured and who will do the measuring?
  4. Over what period does the Government anticipate people will be able to enroll for a vaccine passport and who will manage that process?
  5. Will the Government have its own, bespoke vaccine passport or will we sign up to an international regime?
  6. If that latter, which one, and when is it likely to be up and running?
  7. Could there be multiple forms of vaccine passports, such as those being established by individual airlines or groups of airlines, and will the Government recognise them if they meet certain standards?
  8. What implications will vaccination have on employment law?
  9. Under the Health and Safety at Work Act, will a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) whose staff are at risk of infection need to be vaccinated? Who is at fault if they’re not, and does an employee have a right to refuse?
  10. Can a prospective employer ask if you’ve been vaccinated?
  11. What about schools – principals are a PCBU; will their obligation to enroll and provide education to an eligible student override their obligation to protect other students from infection?
  12. What advice is the Government receiving on these scenarios, and presuming it is receiving advice why isn’t it sharing it with the public so we can get a sense of the way forward, ahead of whatever long term plan the Government is working on?
  13. Wouldn’t it be better to get the advice the Government is considering out in the public domain so wise people from a range of fields could give it a sense check and propose useful additional ideas and scenarios for consideration?
  14. Why is the Government so slow delivering detailed answers to these and other questions and so reticent to bring New Zealanders into its confidence on how the country is going to chart its way into a post-vaccine world?
  15. Finally, have you read ACT’s COVID Response Plan 2.0? If so, do you think it’s a useful addition to the public policy discussion about how we plan for a post-vaccine world?

“I know this is a lot of questions Prime Minister, but it’s a reflection of how little useful information your Government is providing about the way forward.

“There are many more where this list came from and sooner or later the public is going to demand good answers to them.”

ENDS