COVID-19: Vaccine mandates 'may have already past their use by date' - David Seymour

David Seymour says the Government's COVID-19 vaccine mandates might already be out of date.

His comments come after National Party leader Christopher Luxon asked for a clear timeline with criteria for when mandates could be scrapped. 

Appearing on AM Early, ACT Party leader Seymour was asked about comments made by Jacinda Ardern on Wednesday - where the Prime Minister said vaccine mandates would be lifted "when they're not needed". 

"We said if we got 90 percent vaccinated we'd get our freedom back but it seems that the political control that comes from COVID is unending," Seymour said on Thursday.

"We're going to need to start asking ourselves - 'What is the pathway out, how does Omicron change the game?' And it would seem that continuing to have these mandates, they may have already past their use-by date given that we have very high vaccination rates."

According to the Ministry of Health, 94 percent of New Zealanders are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and 95 percent have received at least one dose. Double vaccination isn't as effective against Omicron as it was Delta and previous strains, which is why the Government is pushing ahead with its booster jab rollout.

Multiple US studies have shown a third dose is critical in fighting Omicron, with the booster providing 90 percent protection against hospitalisation.

Research has also shown that Omicron, while more transmissible, appears to result in less severe disease than the Delta variant - the strain circulating in New Zealand during last year's COVID-19 lockdowns.  

"Omicron is a significantly milder version of COVID and the connection between vaccination and spread is much, much weaker than it was with, say, Delta so I think we need a bit of an update to recognise the reality of Omicron," said Seymour. 

Elsewhere in the interview with AM Early host Bernadine Oliver-Kerby, Seymour said he's always advocated for a "vaccine or test policy", where people can undergo regular COVID-19 testing as opposed to being immunised - allowing unvaccinated people in mandated industries to keep their jobs.

"You now have a group of people who no longer feel the kindness, no longer feel part of 'the team of 5 million' and that division has a cost, too."

Ardern said on Wednesday the mandates and restrictions were about public safety.

"We only want to use things like restrictions and passes and mandates for so long as they are providing safety for the community.

"When they're not needed, of course, you'd look to remove them."

The Government mandated vaccinations against COVID-19 for workers in certain industries and roles, with redeployment off the front lines possible for those who refuse, to help reduce the impact of the virus that's killed more than 5.7 million people and infected over 402 million around the world.

Some have vented their outrage at the mandates with multiple protests - the latest currently entering its third day on the grounds of Parliament.