Hot on the heels of her refusal to release the ‘Let’s Get Wellington Moving’ letter, Julie Anne Genter has been embarrassed into releasing another letter, this time on measles, National’s Associate Health spokesperson Dr Shane Reti says.
“In response to written questions, Ms Genter stated that releasing the contents of a letter from the World Health Organisation sent in March this year, was ‘not in the public interest’.
“She then was forced to release the letter in Parliament today, bizarrely citing the large number of written questions that I sent her on measles as a reason for not doing so earlier.
“As well as a warning about the heightened emergence of measles, the WHO letter also made recommendations. Ms Genter said the Government was in the process of implementing these recommendations, and that some of them were already in progress when the letter was sent.
“It’s clear that’s not the case. Recommendation three from the WHO letter was ‘maintaining a reserve of measles vaccines and syringes’. But supply of the measles vaccine ran extremely short and even now 30-50 year olds still cannot access it.
“We already know that the Government missed other early warning signs on measles this year, including three outbreaks in January and February. These warning signs should have been a clear sign more vaccines were needed. Instead, none were ordered until it was too late – and almost 2,000 New Zealanders have contracted measles this year.
“The Government’s action on measles has been too little, too late. This is yet another example of an incompetent government that purports to be open and transparent being the exact opposite.”