N.Z. trade union slams Govt over vaccines

A trade union in New Zealand has lashed out at their government over reports Samoa will take delivery of its first batch of COVID-19 vaccines next month.

The New Zealand Taxpayers Union spokesman Jordan Williams questioned the rationale behind the delay by the New Zealand government to roll out coronavirus vaccines.

"This is, frankly, humiliating for New Zealand. What are we paying our taxes for, if not to secure a vaccine for the worst pandemic in living memory?” he said in a statement issued last Friday.

“Even libertarians agree this is a core role of government. How is Samoa beating us to the punch when we're 200 times wealthier?"

The trade union spokesman was responding to a Radio New Zealand report, which quoted a Samoa Observer article that was based on a statement by Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, who announced that Samoa is expected to take delivery of its COVID-19 vaccine next month.

Mr Williams, in scathing criticism of the New Zealand government, called for New Zealand’s border workers to be vaccinated but the country should not have to wait that long for that to happen.

"We urgently need to vaccinate our border workers. They are our single biggest risk of a local outbreak and another costly lockdown. We cannot risk waiting until April, May, or June for this crucial first step."

"When the Prime Minister returns from holiday she needs to front up on day one with a timeline that will see our border workers vaccinated in line with our international neighbours."

Tuilaepa, who was speaking during his weekly programme on TV3 Samoa last Wednesday, indicated that the first to be injected with the vaccine are front-line workers before the rest of the country.

"We expect a portion of vaccines intended for Samoa to arrive next month and we will start with those at our borders ensuring our security," he said. "This is very good news for Samoa, it is very good news for Samoa that the lifeboat is very near. And may God continue his protection over Samoa until then."

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