3News 13 April 2015
The Government has ruled out revisiting a proposal to penalise families who fail to immunise their children.
It comes as Australia announces plans to stop taxpayer-funded childcare or benefits to those who choose not to vaccinate.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has given people an injection of tough love. From January, Australian families who don’t vaccinate their children will lose up to $15,000 in welfare and benefits.
“Taxpayers aren’t going to subsidise that choice for them,” says Mr Abbott.
New Zealand isn’t about to inflict the same payment pain. Health Minister Jonathan Coleman doesn’t think it’s necessary and more importantly, neither does his boss, Prime Minister John Key.
New Zealand’s rate of immunisation has been improving since the Government made it one of its six health targets. As of December last year, 94 percent of children were fully immunised at two years.
Australian doctors think Mr Abbott is right, but Mark Peterson of the New Zealand Medical Association says penalising families is dangerous.
“You could create a situation where the rich people have choice and the poor people who rely on benefits don’t have any choice, and we don’t think that’s appropriate,” says Dr Peterson.
Key rules out ‘no jab, no pay’ policy
NZ Herald 14 April 2015
Despite overwhelming evidence in favour of immunisation, the Government will not revisit a proposal to make it a condition of the benefit, Prime Minister John Key says.
The Australian Government intends to stop benefit payments to parents who refuse to vaccinate their children.
Such a “no jab, no pay” policy could cost parents more than A$15,000 ($15,255) a year per child.
The New Zealand Government opted against a similar measure in 2012 because it believed immunisation should be the parents’ choice.
Yesterday Mr Key said that decision would not be reviewed.