“The communication from Pfizer on 30 June 2020 wanting to negotiate early vaccine delivery was never brought to cabinet in time,” says Rt Hon Winston Peters.
“If New Zealand First had known then that Pfizer was willing and able to begin negotiations we would immediately have urged funds be made available – just as we had done months before when MFAT set $50 million aside for the COVID response in the Pacific.”
“It is clear we had the capacity to be front of the queue for vaccinations and delivery, but this critical information was never shared with us at that time, and discussions about funding contracts did not occur until months later.”
“The Prime Minister and the then MBIE Lead Minister need to explain why this vital information wasn’t treated with the urgency it deserved.”
“It is inexcusable that this delay not only occurred but was first kept and delayed from cabinet. It has clearly caused the devastating flow-on effects we are seeing today in Auckland and around New Zealand,” says Mr Peters.
“New Zealand could have secured millions of vaccines before Christmas 2020 and could have had kiwis vaccinated a long time before delta even arrived in our country.”