New Zealand Air Line Pilots' Association calls for faster vaccination of all Kiwis

They say protection at the border isn't enough.
They say protection at the border isn't enough. Photo credit: Getty Images

The New Zealand Air Line Pilots' Association (NZALPA) says the government needs to accelerate the speed at which all New Zealanders are being vaccinated, rather than singling out border workers.

"Mandatory vaccination of all border staff is not a 'silver bullet'. Vaccinations should not be mandatory, but they are highly recommended for personal protection, herd immunity and to slow the spread of the virus," NZALPA President and international pilot Captain Andrew Ridling said in a statement. 

"What we need is a quicker and more fully vaccinated New Zealand," he said. 

"Around 95 percent of our pilot members are already vaccinated, and my family and I are personally grateful to be inoculated shortly after the vaccine was available here in New Zealand."

Captain Andrew Ridling went on to say that since the start of the pandemic, the NZALPA has been "very clear that our members take our transmission risk responsibilities very seriously". 

"Now the government's own research released today showed that New Zealanders are overall motivated by a sense of duty and a desire to 'follow the rules.'  We urge the government to take this opportunity to bring forward the roll out of vaccinations for everyone in Aotearoa. 

"As well as keeping our people safe, it will also send an assurance message to those airlines and international tourists looking to return, including providing employment to those thousands in the aviation industry who've lost their jobs, lived on reduced wages and have done it tough over the unprecedented last 16 months. 

"We need to work together to make sure all New Zealanders are kept safe as well as helping revive our part in the international market.  The most clear and obvious thing to do is speed up vaccination rollout.  Otherwise, we risk our economy being left behind."