Majority of Kiwis support making vaccine compulsory

Source: 1News

A majority of New Zealanders would support vaccinations being made compulsory, according to a poll conducted by 1News, although Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern remains adamant that won't happen.

The 1News Colmar Brunton poll asked whether vaccines should be made mandatory, except for those with a medical exemption. The results are as follows:

It should be made mandatory for all New Zealanders aged 12 and over: 44%

It should only be made mandatory for New Zealanders aged 18 and over: 17%

It should not be made mandatory: 35%

Don’t know: 4% 

Fourty-four per cent thought it should be mandatory for those 12 and over, while a further 17% said it should only be mandatory for those aged 18 and over - a total of 61% supporting it in some form.

Thirty-five per cent said vaccines shouldn't be compulsory, while the rest were undecided.

Despite the support, it is an option the Government are unlikely to take. On Monday, Ardern said making vaccinations compulsory is still not an option for the Government.

"We believe that we can talk about the vaccine on its merits, the difference that it makes to people’s lives, their health, their livelihood, without taking that extraordinary step," she said.

Likewise, Council for Civil Liberties spokesperson Thomas Beagle said it should be "the very last method" chosen.

"There's a lot of other things we can do first before we get into coercion or forcing people," Beagle said.

The Director-General of Health says they will be watching developments in this area closely.

Melbourne suffered days of protests last week after construction workers in the city were ordered to get the jab.

Meanwhile, in Turkmenistan and Micronesia, vaccines are compulsory for those over 18. Italy is considering following suit as they continue to struggle containing the virus.

While unlikely to be a blanket decision, some employers have decided to take that step and make the vaccine compulsory for their employees.

Air New Zealand has more than 2000 of its pilots and aircrew already vaccinated, but it is going to make vaccination compulsory for 4000 additional staff, in light of the Delta outbreak.

"The health and safety risk for our people has changed and it's changed because of the Delta variant and how infectious it is," Air NZ chief medical officer Dr Ben Johnson said.

The airline is also contemplating whether vaccinations should become compulsory for passengers.

"It's something that Air New Zealand is looking at and would that be the right thing to do," Johnson told 1News.

"We haven't arrived at a decision about that."

Between September 22-26, 2021, 1001 eligible voters were polled by mobile phone (501) and online (500). The maximum sampling error is approximately ±3.1%-points at the 95% confidence level. The data has been weighted to align with Stats NZ population counts for age, gender, region and ethnic identification. The sample for mobile phones is selected by random dialling using probability sampling, and the online sample is collected using an online panel.