Judith Collins says people in South Auckland should get Covid vaccine before elderly in other parts of NZ

National Party leader Judith Collins says Covid-19 vaccines should be offered to South Auckland residents ahead of the elderly in other parts of New Zealand.

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The National Party leader also says the police should be used to check up on those supposed to be isolating who can’t be contacted. Source: Q+A

Her call comes as Auckland is once again plunged into lockdown after more cases linked to the Papatoetoe cluster emerged.

Jacinda Ardern says lockdown was necessary as many people will have visited locations in South Auckland visited by two people whose infections were revealed late last night.

Older people in New Zealand will be at front of the queue for a vaccine once border staff have got theirs, but Collins says a different approach should be considered.

She says for a range of reasons, people in Auckland's south should be moved up the queue, ahead of elderly people in retirement homes in other parts of the country.

“Without judging where people live or who works where, it is clear, we have higher density occupation for homes in parts of South Auckland in particular," she told Q+A with Jack Tame. 

"We also have a lot of people in South Auckland who work at border facilities, but also work in rest homes, we need to be realistic here and we need to say 'South Auckland does need something', and that something special happens to be vaccinations."  

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said once border workers were vaccinated, they would be looking to give it to those at risk.

"Clearly, South Auckland, located near the big airport where most of our people are coming into the country from abroad, that clearly is a setting that's probably a bit more at risk. I think you'll see that reflected in the vaccine rollout plan." 

One of yesterday's cases was a man who went to the gym after being tested by their GP.

Other recent cases went to work despite being in groups of people who were subject to extra testing due to the recent outbreak.

Collins said if people weren't isolating when they were supposed to be, action needed to be taken.

“Are we even bothering to check? We had a report yesterday, four times trying to contact someone, couldn’t get hold of them, so the contact tracing people did nothing much at all," she said. 

“That’s not good enough, we should have somebody trying to prove they are there, with their phone, take a photo, whatever, where they are, and if there is no contact within 24 hours, send the police around. We need to be vigilant so everybody else doesn’t pay the price for slack systems."

Speaking at today's 1pm press conference, Jacinda Ardern said the Ministry of Health could use the police to check up on people it feared weren't isolating properly.