PM says she's working hard to make sure NZ has Christmas it deserves

By Marena Mane

Prime Minister Jacinda Adern says the whole country, especially Auckland, will enjoy the Christmas they deserve because of how vaccination rates are tracking and the enormous effort Auckland is putting in,

“But I will keep encouraging people. For the summer that you want, we do need your help, and vaccines are part of it.”

The government has set a week-by-week strategy, assuming vaccination rates must rise before lockdown restrictions can be lifted.

The key purpose for driving vaccination rates so high, according to Ardern, is to give the best protection for Aotearoa while not putting excessive strain on its medical systems.

“If I could also just highlight that our Māori over 65, the rates there are incredibly high .. so that demonstrates what's possible. What we’re trying to do now is get our rangatahi to follow suit.”

Vaccination certificates

Ardern says a framework for vaccination certificates will be released in the coming weeks, which will help reduce restrictions.

“So, if you think about it like our alert level system but using certificates, that is something we'll be sharing with Tāmaki Makaurau and with the rest of the country shortly.”

Ardern says Delta is more difficult to control, and data reveals 87% of people have had their first dose and that number needs to be second doses to become an immunised population, which will help ease restrictions. “It doesn't mean that it has to be at 90% but that outbreak has to be under control.”

Super Saturday vaxathon

To engage with more Maori Ardern believes that including a Te Reo speaker in daily press briefings may be critical, particularly in the run-up to Aotearoa's Super Saturday Vaxathon (October 16), a national day of action that encourages every eligible New Zealander to get their shot.

“Actually in the lead-up to Super Saturday, I think that's a very useful thing that we could and should be doing.”

Rural tour

Last week, Ardern travelled to some rural communities with low vaccination rates to convey the point that this pandemic affects everyone and not just Auckland.

“We had seen great efforts but lower rates, Just to say thank you to those providers for the mahi that they're doing but also to encourage everyone in those areas not to think that Delta is somehow far away from them. We need everyone to be safe.”