National demands Govt release vax targets now, refuses to release their own

Author
Derek Cheng, NZ Herald ,
Publish Date
Tue, 19 Oct 2021, 12:00PM

National demands Govt release vax targets now, refuses to release their own

Author
Derek Cheng, NZ Herald ,
Publish Date
Tue, 19 Oct 2021, 12:00PM

National leader Judith Collins says the Prime Minister is treating New Zealanders like children in not sharing its vaccination targets until Friday, and then refused to release her own target until tomorrow. 

On Friday Jacinda Ardern will release the Government's targets and a new traffic light framework that will be used once the targets are reached. 

She said Aucklanders couldn't expect to live week to week and they needed to be shown the pathway out of lockdown, but the Government has been accused of drip-feeding their plan and, in foreshadowing Friday's release, making another announcement about an announcement. 

Collins has pushed Ardern to have vaccination targets for months. 

"She gave us nothing, just vague hints that something is coming," Collins said. 

"She treated New Zealanders, all of us, like children, instructing us to be patient while we wait for our presents." 

National's Covid-19 response spokesman Chris Bishop said Ardern should have released the vaccination targets yesterday. 

"People unsurprisingly find this incredibly frustrating. The Government knows what the target is. They should have said what it was yesterday," he said. 

"We have outlined our target in relation to the external reopening of New Zealand, and tomorrow you'll see our target in relation to the internal reopening." 

They refused to say what that target is. 

Collins didn't think it was a double-standard to criticise the Government for not releasing its targets yesterday and then to refuse her own. 

"No, because we're putting out a full mini Budget, essentially, for the Government tomorrow to follow. 

"The Government actually is the Government. We're not the Government. We're the Opposition." 

National has released a plan that includes a target of 70 to 75 per cent vaccination coverage of the eligible population before national lockdowns are no longer needed, and 85 to 90 per cent for reopening the borders. 

Asked about National's plan for Auckland to move out of lockdown, Collins gave a timeline of the end of November or the start of December, and then added: "1st of December seems to us a very good date to aspire to." 

National leader Judith Collins says Jacinda Ardern is treating New Zealanders like children in not releasing vaccination targets until Friday. Photo / Mark Mitchell

National leader Judith Collins says Jacinda Ardern is treating New Zealanders like children in not releasing vaccination targets until Friday. (Photo / Mark Mitchell) 

Asked about a vaccination rate as well as a date, she said "pretty similar" to the 85 to 90 per cent target for reopening borders. 

She said tomorrow's announcement would include measures to help save businesses and livelihoods. 

Added Bishop: "What Aucklanders and the needs is some clarity - simple clear metrics that the country can go for in order to start restoring some freedoms, and that's the direction of credit from us tomorrow." 

Collins said there wouldn't be a Māori-specific target because "we have never believed in picking on particular instrument populations in deciding that they are the people who are holding everyone back". 

"That is not good for social cohesion and is simply unfair."