Labour’s repeated refusal to allow senior officials to be questioned before Parliament’s Health Select Committee is an abuse of power, National’s COVID-19 spokesperson Chris Bishop says.
“For the third Parliamentary sitting week in a row Labour MPs on the Health Select Committee have voted against a National motion to ask senior officials to appear before the committee for questions.
“The vaccine rollout is one of the most important things the Government will do during its term. We must get this right and that means being able to ask questions of those in charge of rolling out the vaccine.
“So far there are a number of issues with the rollout, including its slow progress, the lack of a national booking system for vaccines and delays in obtaining Pfizer vaccines, as well as issues with MIQ, such as the lack of saliva testing, overdue MIQ payments and what the future of MIQ will be heading into 2022.
“It is in the public interest for questions on the above to be asked and answered by officials. This was clearly demonstrated back in April when a question to officials elicited the information that Case B, the security guard at the Grand Millennium, had not been tested for five months.
“Since the new Parliament began in November las year, the Health Committee has held just two question and answer sessions with officials. National has repeatedly moved that the Committee call senior officials to appear before it but this is always out-voted by the Labour Party, including again this morning.
“National has also called for a dedicated COVID-19 Committee, modelled on the previous Epidemic Response Committee, to be formed, but this has also been rejected by Labour.
“Labour is using its majority to suppress legitimate questions and scrutiny of our COVID-19 response. This is not the open and transparent Government we were promised. It is arrogance, pure and simple.
“COVID-19 deserves proper Parliamentary scrutiny.”