Time running out for Rhythm and Vines 2021 as Gisborne lags in race to hit 90 percent vaccinated

  • 05/11/2021

East Coast Labour MP Kiri Allan has advised the much-anticipated New Year's festival Rhythm and Vines will only go ahead this year if the local DHB's population is 90 percent fully vaccinated against COVID-19. 

Gisborne, where the annual three-day gig is held every year, sits in the Tairāwhiti DHB, which is well behind in vaccination rates.

It's currently sitting at 79 percent for first doses and only 65 percent for second doses. 

Allan said she had been in contact with the festival's organisers, as well as the emergency management team. 

"The Rhythm and Vines crew have been pretty clear that it will only go ahead if we hit the 90 percent vaccination rates," she told The AM Show on Friday morning. 

About 50,000 young people come to the region for the event each year, Allan said, adding that she would love to see it go ahead "but we do need to get to those 90 percent vaccination rates".

Allan said she supported the RnV crew's position, highlighting "resurgence training'' and "stress-testing" for a COVID-19 outbreak in the area had proven that a 90 percent double dosed DHB was vital to protect the community. 

"The Rhythm and Vines crew took a very understanding and caring view of that perspective," she said. 

"They care about our community just as much as everyone else does here and so that is going to be critical to their decision-making."

With just over seven weeks to go, time appears to be running out for RnV; but Allan said she is remaining optimistic. 

"Never say never until the good lady sings, so let's see how we go. We do want to get to that 90 percent vaccination rate."