Grigg: Vaccination the way forward

Selwyn MP Nicola Grigg

Opinion: It’s been a bad news week for those of us looking forward to the Spring shows and events.

Not only have organisers of the Ashburton and Ellesmere A&P shows had to make the difficult decision to cancel public attendance, the Canterbury A&P association and the Hororata Highland Games have cancelled completely.

I’m sure that by the time this goes to print, many more events will have pulled pin.

The lack of clarity and surety around restrictive alert levels has been an absolute nightmare for the events industry both here in Mid Canterbury and, indeed, across the country.

Daily, I have people contacting me asking why the South Island remains in alert level two restrictions.

Three weeks ago I, along with the National Party’s other South Island MPs, wrote to the Prime Minister requesting that she release the technical advice she is using to base this decision on.

We mainlanders are a fairly pragmatic bunch and if the Prime Minister’s advice points to imminent danger of a rapid spread of the virus amongst an unvaccinated population, then I’m sure we’d all see the justification and take the necessary actions.

Without it though, we are flying blind and can only assume this is a needlessly punitive measure.

She has not replied.

It’s my view that we must now accept that the elimination strategy has not worked, and will not work.

Despite Auckland still remaining behind an iron curtain for some eight weeks now, cases are creeping into the Waikato and will, no doubt, begin an inexorable march south.

New Zealand must learn to live with this virus, and in order to do so, we must be vaccinated.

I’ve fielded dozens and dozens of outraged emails lately for making statements like that, and I’ve daily had angry people walk into my office to protest my views.

And while I am usually the first person to defend individual rights and freedom of choice, it’s time to get real.

This disease is new, and it is dangerous.

We do not have herd immunity to rely on and for those who don’t get vaccianted, for whatever reason, you risk making others sick.

For anyone who is still yet to be vaccinated, it’s important that this simple fact sinks in.

Either in the next few weeks, in a month, or maybe a little later, New Zealand will have Covid-19 moving to every corner of our country.

Every day I hear from people across the district who are struggling, both with the aftermath of the lockdown, and the impact ongoing alert level restrictions are having on their businesses.

But if we all go out and get vaccinated now it will mean less time in future lockdowns and a sooner return to a life without border restrictions, and with public events and social gatherings.

Let’s be clear, the vaccine could save your life. It could save your job, or your business.

It will see the return of events and shows.

The return of social gatherings.

An unrestricted Christmas.

Some rather compelling reasons, I’d have thought.

– National’s Nicola Grigg grew up in Mt Somers and is currently the Selwyn MP.