TODAY |

Sixteen border workers receive fines for refusing to get mandatory Covid-19 tests

A total of 16 border workers have received fines for refusing to be tested for Covid-19, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins revealed today.

Nurse carrying out a Covid test - stock image. Source: istock.com

The infringement notices contained a fine of $300 for each worker.

"Many attempts were made to contact the workers and remind them before the infringement notices," Hipkins said at today's 1pm briefing.

He says a formal warning was sent before the workers were fined.

"I don’t have a breakdown of where they work, but don’t expect them to be Government employees."

Yesterday it was announced border workers in ports and airports will now need to be vaccinated against Covid-19, bringing them in line with the rules for MIQ workers.

It will mean about 1800 more workers will need to be vaccinated to keep their job.

When asked why the mandatory rollout for more border workers was only just implemented, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described compulsory vaccinations as an "extraordinary step".

"Our core border workforce… have been covered. We are now going up to the next tier of workers."

She described the voluntary uptake as "not as high" as New Zealand needs at the border.

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today the rule will be in place from July 14 at 11.59pm, but the unvaccinated workers will have until August 26 to get their first dose, with privately-employed workers facing a September 30 deadline.