New Zealand could end Covid-19 lockdown restrictions once the country hits an 85 to 90 per cent vaccination rate, according to a proposed plan by the National Party.
Leader Judith Collins said the plan would see Kiwis return to relative freedom by Christmas, with restrictions easing once that double-dose milestone is reached or on December 1, whichever is first.
That target would also include “district health board and age-based milestones”.
“The undeniable fact is that we cannot allow things to continue as they are. Our largest city has been in lockdown for almost 10 weeks and there’s still no end in sight,” Collins said.
Appearing on Breakfast, she said while hitting a 90 per cent fully vaccinated rate would be better, “85 [per cent] is, by all the modelling that we’ve looked at by the Doherty Institute and others, it is something that we could do”.
With nation-wide first-dose rates already past 85 per cent, a similar double-dose vaccination rate was possible in six weeks’ time, Collins said.
“But, as we announced in our ‘Opening Up’ Covid response plan , a vaccination rate of 85-90 per cent is just one part of what needs to happen to restore the freedoms we’ve been forced by this Government to give up.
“We would boost ICU capacity, put rapid antigen testing and saliva testing in place, and step up vaccination of people in vulnerable communities.
“We will purchase and rollout vaccine boosters, as well as secure effective therapeutic treatments.”
Collins said she didn’t want to set a different vaccination target for Māori.
“I don’t like different rates or saying we have to get all Māori vaccinated. Why? Because I don’t want New Zealand to turn around and start pointing the finger at Māori because there was no effective rollout until very late in the piece,” she said.
She said Māori ministers should be doing more to encourage other Māori to get vaccinated.