Thursday, 20 May 2021

Transparency needed on COVID after sneaky prisoner rule change


“The Government has been quietly moving some prisoners up the list to receive the COVID-19 vaccination without any consultation,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Prisoners were all part Group 3 along with most of the general population, but a new document shows that some have been moved into group two. 

“This decision, like most things related to COVID has had no public airing. A Cabinet Paper was just quietly put on the Ministry of Health’s website.

“Advice was given to Cabinet by the Ministry of Health that all prisoners should be vaccinated as part of group 2. The Government chose to go ahead and move two prisons in the Counties Manukau District Health Board region into that group.

“This is not about whether vaccinating prisoners as a priority is the right thing to do, this about the Government again making decision out of nowhere with no transparent plan.

“It does seem bizarre that people who will be behind bars for the foreseeable future would be more of a priority for vaccination than law abiding Kiwis who are waiting to travel or rely on tourists for their businesses.

“We need a detailed plan with clear rules of the game to get through COVID-19. Instead this Government just makes it up on the hop.

“Last week Ashley Bloomfield declared we’d be going into an indefinite and undefined Level 2.5 before being pulled back into line. 

“When we do open up to the world, we need a clear plan so we’re not disrupting people’s lives.

“This is why ACT has been calling for the return of the Epidemic Response Committee, so we can get proper answers for New Zealanders about how their lives will be affected.

“It’s time to have honest conversations with New Zealanders. Chris Hipkins and Ashley Bloomflied need to be upfront with New Zealanders about what they’re planning for us and how it will affect our lives.

ACT’s response to get through COVID-19 can be found here.”