Prime Minister Chris Hipkins told reporters yesterday the COVID-19 jab was not compulsory, even though it was mandated.
Hipkins was answering a question from a reporter about the recently announced NZ First policy of compensating the victims of COVID mandates and lockdowns.
‘In terms of the vaccine mandates I acknowledge that it was a challenging time for people, but they ultimately made their own choices. There was no compulsory vaccination, people made their own choices.’
The government’s controversial COVID gene therapy mandates were declared in late 2021, requiring workers in education, medical and other fields to provide proof of up-to-date vaccination status in order to maintain their employment and careers.
Hipkins was Minister of Health from July 2020, and Minister for the COVID-19 response from November that year. In the latter role, he oversaw the launch of the government’s “My Vaccine Pass” vaccine certificate in November 2021, the national vaccination rollout, and the passage of the COVID-19 Response (Vaccinations) Legislation Act 2021, which provided the legal framework for the Government’s vaccine mandate.
Video of Hipkins’ claim was shared widely on social media in New Zealand and overseas, where it attracted a lot of comment and criticism, as the mandates had the effect of compulsion for those who could not afford to lose their jobs.
‘New Zealand PM is now blaming NZ citizens for taking the mandatory vaccines to keep their jobs and feed their families. These people are sick,’ tweeted independent Australian journalist Rukshan Fernando.
‘Remember? He clearly doesn’t? Is this gaslighting? I get confused…’ tweeted kiwi musician Jason Kerrison.
— Coronavirus Plushie (@c_plushie) September 4, 2023