Vaccination, freedom to travel and safety-everything depends on us

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National MP says the government has failed to protect us from Delta

National Party (List) MP Melissa Lee (Photo Supplied)

Melissa Lee
Wellington, November 24, 2021

I was rather concerned reading a recent Official information Act response from the Diversity, Inclusion and Ethnic Communities Minister that several ethnic community groups around New Zealand are facing difficulties regarding access to the Covid-19 vaccine, vaccine information support or at risk of misinformation causing hesitancy within their communities.

Vaccination is the best method for us all to get our country back in business, to allow for us to see our families from overseas again and to get on with a sense of normalcy in our lives.

As I write this Auckland enters its 100th day of lockdown -over three months of restrictions on hospitality and travel.

Indeed, as an Auckland based list Member of Parliament, I was only able to return to our Houses of Parliament on Tuesday 16 November, having last set foot in the debating chamber in early August. The only reason I was able to was because I was vaccinated against Covid-19 and having to produce a negative test each time I travel.

As we all know, all of us did the hard work to eliminate Covid last year and many amazing groups, particularly from our ethnic communities, came together to support those in hardship over the past 18 months. While the Labour government chose to go slow on vaccinations and spend billions on non-Covid projects instead of investing in ICU, rapid antigen testing, vaccine certificates and contact tracing, we now have the vaccine available and it is imperative we use it, alongside other tools, to keep ourselves safe.

National also has a plan to keep New Zealanders safe while backing our country.

While a majority of Kiwis have undertaken to get vaccinated promptly, despite ethnic barriers to the booking systems and access, some remain deeply hesitant for a variety of reasons.

I encourage those of you still uncertain about the Covid vaccine to talk to a trusted community member, health official or relative who has agreed to get vaccinated and to learn how important the vaccine will be for our country to face the Covid storm that continues to bear down on our country.

When our borders re-open to the world and the lottery of MIQ misery ends, we all need to be prepared for Covid to be a daily part of our lives for the foreseeable future no matter whether we live in Auckland, Wellington or any part of our beautiful islands.

My National Colleagues and I are always happy to reach out and talk with those who have concerns. With businesses going bankrupt, our hospitality sector in dire straits, our festivals cancelled and our loved ones offshore, it is essential we get vaccinated, make ourselves Covid-safe and help each other during these tough times.  

The Labour government failed to protect us from Delta until it was too late so we need to take it upon ourselves to keep our communities safe. Kiwis need to be free to travel around our country and engage again with our friends and family around the world.

Reach out if you need any support, I and my team will be happy to help just give me an email on MPLee@parliament.govt.nz  

Melissa Lee is a Member of Parliament on National’s List and the Party’s Spokesperson for Broadcasting & Media| Digital Economy and Communications and Ethnic Communities.

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