Te ORA applauds Minister of Health, Jonathon Coleman’s stance that NZ will not follow the Australian ‘no jab, no pay’ policy
Te Ohu Rata o Aotearoa – Māori Medical Practitioners Association (Te ORA) applauds Minister Coleman’s stance not to follow the Australian Government’s policy of cutting beneficiaries’ payments if they fail to get their children immunised. Dr Rawiri Jansen (Chair, Te ORA) agrees, ‘currently the government has immunisation rates as one of its key health targets and this is reflected in results showing a significant improvement in child immunisation rates’. ‘The evidence is clear that when Māori parents are offered timely immunisation supported by appropriate information they overwhelmingly take up immunisation. It is far more important for the health system to take responsibility for improving our service delivery.”
Dr Jansen goes on to say, ‘Te ORA also challenges the assumption that only poor people or beneficiaries choose not to immunise their children, we simply know that this is not the case’. ‘We are not supportive of measures which further marginalise and penalise New Zealand beneficiaries and their children’.
These sentiments are also echoed by the Public Health Association NZ. CEO Warren Lindberg says, ‘The PHANZ is pleased that the NZ government will not follow Australia’s lead in punishing beneficiary parents for not ensuring their children are immunised. It’s hard to believe a government would actually impoverish and marginalise beneficiaries even more if they fail to get a child immunised. NZ has demonstrated dramatic improvement in immunisation rates through good education and improved access. A punitive approach is bound to be counter-productive.
Dr Jansen says, ‘Te ORA welcomes the measured response from the Minister of Health on this issue. Immunising your child is not just about parental responsibility, it is also about access and affordability of healthcare, a competent and capable health workforce, and health literacy.