Coronavirus: Former Labour Party boss left 'shaken' thanks to anti-vaxxer's road rage

A former Labour Party president has described the terrifying moment he was tailgated and berated by a "red in the face" anti-vaxxer.

Mike Williams, who ran the party during Helen Clark's time as Prime Minister, told The AM Show he was on the way to his office recently when a Mercedes Benz started following him "very, very close, I think less than a metre".

"As I turned the final corner… the driver started blasting his horn and flashing his lights and behaving in a very strange fashion. I thought there was something wrong with my vehicle - it wasn't obvious to me - and he was trying to warn me.

"Then he pulled beside me and got very close, to the point where I was almost forced off the road. I put my window down and he started screaming incoherently - but what I did understand is that he recognised me as a former Labour Party president because the first thing he told me was he's never voting Labour again. 

"The reason was we're 'forcing people to jab themselves with poisons'. It was really very frightening, he was very exercised and red in the face…"

No one is being forced to inject themselves with anything, of course. The Government has mandated vaccinations against COVID-19 for workers in certain industries and roles, with redeployment off the front lines possible for those who refuse, in order to reduce the spread of the virus which has killed millions of people and left millions more suffering long-term illness in the past two years. 

Alternatively, people who refuse to be vaccinated without a valid medical reason are allowed to seek employment elsewhere.

The man stalking Williams thankfully left him alone once he reached his office.

"I locked myself in and I was quite shaken." 

Misinformation about COVID-19 and the vaccines has become increasingly common, though the vast majority of Kiwis - just shy of 90 percent of those eligible - have followed the advice of experts and got themselves jabbed. 

"We're on track to have amongst the highest vaccination rates in the world, already having overtaken the likes of Australia, the US, the UK, France, Germany and Ireland," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said last week, referring to first dose rates. 

Vaccination not only significantly reduces the likelihood you'll be infected, but it also lowers the chance you'll pass it onto someone else or fall seriously ill. 

"This is now a pandemic of the unvaccinated," said Williams, urging people to get their jabs before the virus finds them - which is inevitable, epidemiologist Rod Jackson said last week.

"Now that New Zealand has all but abandoned the elimination strategy for COVID-19, Kiwis can either choose to be voluntarily immunised by the Pfizer vaccine or compulsorily immunised by Delta," Dr Jackson wrote in a piece for the New Zealand Herald