Support for mandates drops to 60% in latest 1News Kantar Public Poll

Source: 1News

A slight majority of Kiwis support the way the Government handled the anti-mandate protest at Parliament, despite it stretching longer than three weeks and ending with fire and violence - while support for the mandates has slightly dropped, according to the latest 1News Kantar Public Poll.

It comes as police sweep through Parliament grounds.

Voters were asked: "Do you approve or disapprove the way in which the Government handled the recent protest at Parliament?"

A slight majority (46%) said they approved of the Government's handling; 43% said they disapproved and 11% didn't know.

More likely than average to support it were Labour supporters, men aged 18 to 34 and Wellington region residents.

Those more likely to disapprove were ACT Party and National Party supporters, women aged 18 to 34 and Waikato residents.

The second question asked was: "In recent months the Government has introduced mandatory vaccinations for certain public-facing workforces, including teachers and health care workers. Do you support or oppose the Government's move to mandate vaccinations in certain workforces?"

The poll showed that since November support for mandates has dropped by 14 percentage points.

In the November 2021 poll, 74% of people said they supported the mandates, and 20% were opposed. In this poll, 60% supported the mandates and 32% opposed.

Those more likely than average to support mandatory vaccinations for certain workforces include Labour Party supporters, Green Party supporters, those aged 70 or older and Asian New Zealanders.

People more likely than average to oppose include ACT Party supporters, National Party supporters, women aged 18 to 34, Waikato residents and NZ Europeans.

Mandates still important - epidemiologist

But epidemiologist Dr Rod Jackson told 1News there has "never a more important time for all of the mandates".

He said an unvaccinated person is three times more likely to infect someone with Covid-19 than a vaccinated person.

"We have to get people as vaccinated as possible… it is the most important thing New Zealanders can do today.

"We need to slow down the pandemic, it's potentially out of control."

READ MORE: Daily case numbers not showing extent of Omicron spread

Jackson also said there is "overwhelming evidence" from overseas that vaccine mandates work.

"It's been extremely effective and particularly in a country like New Zealand.

"Who knows where we would have got to without them, but we are certainly in the upper group of countries in terms of vaccination and it's savings lives today, it's keeping our hospitals open today."

He believes there should be a "substantial decline in hospitalisations" before any current interventions are moved.

Whether or not these mandates are legally justified has been the subject of debate in several court cases.

Sceptical eye on mandates

Otago University law professor Andrew Geddis said the court is casting "a more sceptical eye over the justification of the mandates than they have previously".

"If the mandates are no longer necessary, if they're just not stopping the spread of disease... that's really the question, do these mandates still do what they were originally set up for?"

"With the recent decision relating to the police and the Defence Forces, we saw the judge take a much more close view of the evidence and say, 'Well, can you really show the mandates are needed given that the phases of the disease have changed so much?'"

Geddis says it's now up to the Government to produce evidence which shows that, even in the current Omicron environment, the mandates are still doing what they were set up to do - to reduce the spread of Covid-19.

"We're coming to a stage in the Covid spread where we do need to start thinking about the various restrictions we put on peoples' lives in order to combat Covid, and that's quite a reasonable thing to do. The courts will be a part of that through examining the justification for existing limits, Government will be a part of that by asking you, 'Does it still need to be doing the things they're doing?'"

Between March 5-8, 2022, 1000 eligible voters were polled by mobile phone (500) 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, education level 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.