Gobsmacking: Hipkins claims vaccine rollout has not been slow

Kiwis will be shaking their heads in disbelief at Chris Hipkins’ comments to the Health Committee today that he doesn’t think the vaccine rollout in New Zealand has been slow, says National’s Covid-19 Response spokesperson Chris Bishop.

“The simple reality is that while things are only slowly ramping up now, New Zealand has the slowest vaccine rollout in the developed world, and the Government’s negligent execution of the rollout has left New Zealand a sitting duck for the Delta variant.

“We were told we would be at the front of the queue for vaccines. We remain at the back.

“Chris Hipkins also made it clear that the Government had not sought to offer more money to Pfizer in order to secure earlier delivery of the Pfizer vaccine. Other countries have done so successfully, but New Zealand didn’t even bother.

“The Government has previously said it would have been ‘unethical’ to pay more for earlier delivery. Here’s a newsflash for the Government: it’s not unethical to act in New Zealand’s interests – it’s the number one responsibility.

“Labour was slow to sign a contract with Pfizer, slow to approve it for use in New Zealand, slow to order our vaccines, and then refused to offer incentive payments for early delivery.

“Even now, they still haven’t ordered any boosters.

“The vaccine rollout is the single most important thing the Government will do in this term of Parliament. It is imperative for New Zealand’s future that we vaccinate as many people as possible, as quickly as possible.

“Right now, we are being let down.”