I hope you are all well.
This is your election update special bulletin. As you may already know I am not a member of any political party.
Several weeks ago I emailed an election questionnaire on behalf of www.noforcedvaccines.org to all parties that I knew were standing candidates in the election.
I received replies from two political parties to the questionnaire that I emailed. The first reply came from the Democrats for Social Credit and the second came from the Act party.
The full replies (and the text of the questionnaire) from both parties may be read at the following link: https://www.noforcedvaccines.org/election-guide/
Below are some excerpts:
Democrats for Social Credit
The spokesman for the Democrats for Social Credit’s sums up the party’s policies concerning vaccination as follows:
“As a general indication of the Democrats for Social Credit approach to these matters (a) we are in favour of the public being given complete information regarding vaccines and (b) we absolutely oppose any compulsion regarding vaccination.”
The Act party
Act’s spokeswoman states that:
“ACT strongly believes that New Zealand needs to increase our rate of immunisation as it protects people against fatal disease. However we don’t support compulsion and think education and incentives are the best tools to encourage vaccination.”
Unfortunately although Act doesn’t support “compulsion” it does support Dr Nikki Turner’s “Six Star Plan” – which includes a number of coercive recommendations.
“ACT supports getting as many children vaccinated as possible. We are open to exploring all the recommendations [emphasis added] of Health Select Committee about how to get more children immunised.”
Most parties didn’t answer the questionnaire
Unfortunately, none of the other parties responded to the questionnaire. This may reflect the fact that parties put a low priority on answering questions about vaccination and/or the fact that I sent the questionnaire too late in the election cycle.
In terms of the other parties attitudes towards the vaccination issue, and specifically the recommendations made in the Report produced by the Health Select Committee following its Inquiry into how to increase vaccination rates.
The Health Select Committee that produced the Report included members from the National party and the Labour party. There was also one MP (Kevin Hague) from the Green party on the committee.
National and Labour
Given that National and Labour party MPs made up the majority of the members of the Health Select Committee it would seem fair to assume that National and Labour support the coercive recommendations in the report. This is unfortunate given that these are the two major parties. Moreover, letters from National party MPs at this link https://www.noforcedvaccines.org/political-responses/ appear to show that National would be quite happy for parents to be forced to choose between either their child having all recommended vaccinations or none, with no middle ground for parents who support vaccination but want to avoid specific vaccines.
The Green Party
While the Green Party was represented on the Health Select Committee it has since stated that it does not support the coercive recommendations in the Report of the Health Select Committee and its health spokesman (Kevin Hague) wrote in a letter that the Green party is in agreement on these key points.
- Immunisation is an individual medical choice, and should never be mandatory. Nor should it be promoted in a way that makes people feel pressured into being immunised, or immunising their children.
- Parents should have access to impartial information which provides them with information about the risks and benefits of immunisation, so that all individuals (and parents in the case of children) can make an informed decision about immunisation.
- Parents should not be penalised for not immunising their children, nor should there be incentive payments or rewards or access to other goods and services, or any linking of immunisation to benefit entitlement.
- Some parents will choose to have their child immunised against some diseases, but not others. No parents should be forced to make a decision between their child having all immunisations or having none.
In terms of other political parties, Peter Dunne from UnitedFuture has previously stated that “UnitedFuture wants to ensure that information about immunisation is widely circulated, including the latest international developments, to promote informed decisions by parents.”
However the party does not have position regarding the issue of linking children’s vaccinations to any type of “welfare benefit” or enrollment at an early childhood centre or school.
I have no information on the policies of the Conservative party, Mana party, Maori party or NZ First about the vaccination issue.
To summarise, if you consider the vaccination issue sufficiently important to take into account when casting your vote Democrats for Social Credit* and the Green party have the best policies from the point of view of respecting parents’ rights to make informed decisions about vaccination without coercion.
Best wishes to you all,
*Unfortunately the latest opinion poll figures I could find (at the time of producing this guide) show that Democrats for Social Credit have no chance of being respresented in parliament unless they win an electorate seat. According to the poll the party’s potential share of the party vote is likely to be less than 0.5%. See: https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1111/S00290/roy-morgan-poll-oct-24-nov6-nat-53-lab-26.htm