Judith Collins weighs in on botched Covid-19 testing of MIQ worker - 'I don't think we can trust anything we're told'

Source: AAP

New Zealand's Covid-19 vaccine programme has lurched towards the scandalous amid revelations of a botched testing regime and sluggish take-up, with Judith Collins saying Kiwis can't "trust anything we're told".

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern defended her government's rollout today, when it was revealed that just 30,194 Kiwis have been fully vaccinated.

That number ranks New Zealand 69th in the world for people fully vaccinated, and 74th in terms of percentage of the population, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The review was expected to be discussed with National’s MPs this morning at caucus, but party president Peter Goodfellow was not committing to releasing it to MPs.

Some 105,000 Kiwis have received their first dose of the two-shot Pfizer regime, putting them on the road to full vaccination.

In the last 24 hours, 7695 doses were administered.

Beyond the low numbers, there was outrage when it was revealed one of the country's recent community cases, a security guard at a quarantine hotel, had not been subjected to Covid-19 tests.

New Zealand law requires border workers to be tested every fortnight but the guard had not been tested since November.

Opposition Leader Judith Collins said the oversight - only revealed under opposition questioning - brought into doubt the Government's testing regime.

"I don't think we can trust anything we're told," Collins said.

"We've had assurances time and time again that everyone working at the border was being tested regularly."

New Zealand's vaccine rollout is beginning with the border regime, with authorities claiming 88 per cent workforce coverage.

Ardern sidestepped questions of whether the public could trust the rollout, saying this failure was a "very particular circumstance".

"Their employer is responsible for fulfilling their obligations, that they're getting tested. We've been advised in this case, the individual is lying to their employer," she said.

"We need people to do the right thing, we need everyone to play their part."

The Government has been unable to maintain registers for both testing and vaccinating, complicating its response.

It also stands accused of dodging scrutiny.

Health officials and Labour MPs stonewalled a parliamentary committee hearing on Wednesday, leaving less than half of the allotted time for opposition questioning.

Covid-19 Minister Chris Hipkins and Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield then fronted a weekly press conference without updating vaccine rollout numbers for the past week.

Mr Hipkins insisted New Zealand's slow start to its vaccination programme wouldn't delay the rollout to the general population.

After border workers and health workers and their families, who are being prioritised, everyday Kiwis are slated to begin vaccinations from July.

"From mid-to-late May we start to move into the tier three group which includes our senior citizens and those with additional health conditions," he said.

"Our Pfizer deliveries are on track. We're expecting a big bulk of those to start to come in from July."

Dr Bloomfield provided some good news, reporting no new community cases for the third consecutive day, ahead of the opening of the trans-Tasman bubble on Monday.