New Zealand’s Prime Minister has pushed back on calls for compensation for people who were mandated out of their jobs or suffered a Covid vaccine injury, insisting there was “no compulsory vaccination” and that “people made their own choices”.
Speaking at a press conference in Auckland on Sunday, Chris Hipkins was asked to comment on New Zealand First leader Winston Peters’ election promise to spend what he estimated could be “hundreds of millions” of dollars compensating people who lost their jobs due to Covid vaccine mandates or suffered vaccine injuries.
“Winston Peters wants to compensate people who were mandated out of their jobs and vaccine injured — would Labour support that?” a reporter asked.
Mr Hipkins replied by accusing Mr Peters of “abandoning the older New Zealand demographic that he used to be so keen to court”.
“Older New Zealanders have record high rates of vaccination, they’re amongst the highest in the world, and Winston Peters seems to be saying that they made the wrong decision in doing that,” he said.
The reporter pressed the PM on whether he saw “any kind of value in looking into potential compensation for anyone disadvantaged through Covid, whether they were mandated out of their jobs or injured by the vaccination program”.
“There is a process for people who are injured in a medical procedure, there’s already processes in place for dealing with that,” Mr Hipkins said.
“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.”