This page is where the responses of members of different political parties to the issue of freedom of choice concerning vaccination are posted. (Political parties can email the Coordinator through the Contact page with statements or press releases on the issues raised by the Report of the Health Select Committee following its Inquiry into how to increase immunisation completion rates and similar issues.)
The coordinator for the site is not a member of any political party and does not know the political affiliations (if any) of the great majority of members/supporters of No Forced Vaccines.
The Health Select Committee that produced the Report on increasing vaccination rates was a multi-party committee and included representatives from National, Labour and also included one Green party MP. (The majority of the MPs were National Party MPs.)
Any MPs who were part of the Select Committee who disagreed with the recommendations in the Report had the option of producing a minority report. The fact that they did not do this suggests that the parties listed above agreed with the coercive recommendations in the Report at least at the time that it was written. (The Green Party has since gone on record as opposing the coercive recommendations – see below.)
If you are a member of a political party, and disagree with the recommendations in the Report, you may like to address this issue within your party.
There are currently six political responses (they are ranked in most recent to least recent):
1) An email from Peter Dunne (leader of UnitedFuture, Minister of Inland Revenue and Associate Minister of Health) stating his party’s support for parents to have information about vaccination so that they can make “informed decisions”.
2) An email from Green Party healthspokesman Kevin Hague stating the Green Party’s support of parents’ rights to choose which vaccine(s) (if any) their children receive without financial penalties.
3) An email from National Party MP Michael Woodhouse who was a member of the Health Select Committee that made the recommendations (replying to the same letter to which MP Jacqui Dean (see below) was also replying
4) An email from National Party MP Jacqui Dean in response to a letter from a member of No Forced Vaccines (and the letter to which Jacqui Dean was replying)
5) A letter from a National Party MP Michael Woodhouse who was a member of the Health Select Committee that produced the Report on vaccination.
6) A press release from the Kiwi Party stating its opposition to a coercive vaccination policy and emphasising its support for parents’ rights to make vaccination decisions for their children.
On August 26, 2011, Peter Dunne (leader of UnitedFuture, Minister of Inland Revenue and Associate Minister of Health) sent the following message through the Contact page:
“UnitedFuture wants to ensure that information about immunisation is widely
circulated, including the latest international developments, to promote informed
decisions by parents.”
(United Future does not currently have a position regarding the issue of linking children’s vaccinations to any type of “welfare benefit” or enrollment at an early childhood centre or school.)
June 22, 2011
Metiria passed on your email to me as Health spokesperson, and has done a good job of outlining our situation below. Our official position is influenced by the fact that we do not have a firm policy on it as we don’t have consensus from our members. However there are some key points on which we all do agree;
- Immunisation is an individual medical choice, and should never be mandatory. Nor should it be promoted in a way that makes people feel pressured into being immunised, or immunising their children.
- Parents should have access to impartial information which provides them with information about the risks and benefits of immunisation, so that all individuals (and parents in the case of children) can make an informed decision about immunisation.
- Parents should not be penalised for not immunising their children, nor should there be incentive payments or rewards or access to other goods and services, or any linking of immunisation to benefit entitlement.
- Some parents will choose to have their child immunised against some diseases, but not others. No parents should be forced to make a decision between their child having all immunisations or having none.
I am confident that the intent of the Select Committee’s report is not to require parents to choose between their child having all available immunisations or none at all, or to force immunisation in any way. The Government’s response seems to support this position too. However, should Government respond to the Committee’s report in either of these ways, then the Green Party will oppose them.
I hope that clarifies our stance for you.
Naku noa na
Dear [NAME REMOVED TO PROTECT MEMBER’S PRIVACY]
Thank you for your email. I am very familiar with the report, having been one of its authors.
Parents who have made a conscious decision to immunise, or not to immunise, have nothing to be concerned about and are not the focus of the recommendations to which you refer. The focus is on ambivalent parents. Enrolment in education is an excellent opportunity to remind parents of the importance of immunisation.
The Government is not obliged to accept the Committee’s recommendations including those contained in Dr Nicky Turner’s Six Star Plan. The recommendations are intended to be positive not punitive and while the committee considered the issue of exclusion from education for non-compliance, it did not make such a recommendation.
I absolutely support parental sovereignty over decisions on children’s care and welfare and the strategies recommended by the Committee are designed to reduce the level of ambivalence about this most important issue. It is certainly not intended to be punitive and there will always be protection for conscientious objection in respect of vaccination.
Thank you for expressing your views on the Select Committee report.
From: Jacqui Dean MP
To: [NAME REMOVED TO PROTECT MEMBER’S PRIVACY]
Sent: Thursday, June 16, 2011 11:39 AM
Subject: RE: Discrimination as a result of Dr Nikki Turner’s proposal to the government
Dear [NAME REMOVED TO PROTECT MEMBER’S PRIVACY]
Thank you for your e-mail and sharing your concerns.
The Committee makes it clear in the report that the inquiry was not undertaken to make immunisation compulsory and acknowledges that there must be room for parents who object. The Committee seeks to identify ways to improve immunisation completion rates. Immunisation is one of the most effective tools we have to prevent outbreaks of infectious diseases that can lead to serious complications for children. These complications, which may lead to hospitalisation, and the impact of these diseases on families, communities, and our health system, is why increased immunisation is one of the Government’s Health Targets.
The Committee recommends in its report that the Ministry of Health explore various options for improving the timeliness and completion rates of immunisation. These include the possibility of linking existing parental benefits to immunisation and strengthening the requirements on parents enrolling their children in an early childhood education centre or school to present immunisation information. The latter would involve parents being required to produce a certificate showing their child has had all the recommended immunisations for their age, or a written statement that they have declined to immunise their child. This is not a proposal to restrict the entrance of children who have not received immunisations.
The report also highlights the importance of parents making informed decisions about immunisation. It recommends that the Ministry ensure parents are provided with up-to-date, readily accessible information about the adverse effects as well as the benefits of immunisation. The Government is carefully considering the recommendations of the report and will respond on 22 June 2011.
Hope your find this helpful feedback.
Jacqui Dean MP for Waitaki
T: 03 434 7325
F: 03 434 7359
Disclaimer: The information contained in this e-mail is intended for the named recipient only. It may contain privileged material or information in confidence and if you are not the intended recipient, you must not copy, distribute or take any action in reliance on it. If you have received this e-mail in error, please notify us immediately by telephone (03) 434 7325 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Below is the letter sent by the No Forced Vaccines’ member to Jacqui Dean. (Astute readers will note that Ms Dean does not respond to the concerns expressed by the No Forced Vaccines member about discrimination against children who are “partially vaccinated” ; that is, those who have had some, but not all, of the vaccinations recommended for their age.)
From: [NAME REMOVED TO PROTECT MEMBER’S PRIVACY]
Sent: Wednesday, 15 June 2011 8:06 p.m.
To: Jacqui Dean MP
Subject: Discrimination as a result of Dr Nikki Turner’s proposal to the government
Dear Jacqui Dean (my local MP)
On March 26, 2011, the Health Select Committee made a report to the government on its Inquiry into how improve completion rates of childhood immunization.
You can read the full report here:
There are recommendations in this report that are extremely disturbing. They include;
- forcing parents to provide a written declaration regarding their choice not to vaccinate when enrolling their children into schools or preschools
- “examining the possibility of linking existing parental benefits to immunization.”
Dr Nikki Turner wants to discriminate against families who have chosen not to vaccinate or partially vaccinate their children. She proposes to do this by;
- removing 20 Hours Free Early Childhood Education (pg 33 of report) from parents who have not provided the necessary information or from those who have decided to partially vaccinate.
How is it that children who have a right to schooling can suddenly be discriminated against and denied free child-care on the basis of their vaccination status?
There are many reasons why parents choose not to vaccinate. Often parents who choose not to vaccinate or to partially vaccinate are stereotyped as ignorant middle class members who have alternative views to keeping their kids healthy through diet and organic food. While most of this picture is true, they are certainly not ignorant. With so little information available on the dangers of vaccination from the Ministry of Health, you can be assured that anyone choosing not to vaccinate must have done some research to make that decision.
I do not wish to assume you ignorant about the matters of vaccinations, but in case you are unaware, vaccinations contain toxic ingredients such as Aluminum, Formaldehyde, and Mercury. These are especially lethal to children with autoimmune deficiencies. Also, the chance of severe reactions increase with each booster shot a child receives. In NZ, a child receives 12 shots by the time they are twelve, with an extra offered for girls, and so many parents are fearful of their child becoming damaged due to a vaccine. This is a valid fear. In America, parents of children who have been damaged by vaccines are actually financially compensated. Is it fair then to discriminate against these parents who have made informed decisions and who genuinely believe and fear for the health of their children if they receive vaccinations? It is a person’s right to choose whether or not they take a drug/medicine that has life threatening side effects. This right would then be revoked if they were discriminated against because of their vaccination status.
While I have no real problem with signing a declaration form stating my choice for my child’s health, my fear is that with Dr Nikki Turner’s proposal, this would become a difficult thing in the future. What if I had to pay for this form or had to obtain a doctor’s signature to complete the form. This would not only inconvenience me, but also the doctor, and what if they refused to sign it? All this would pose problems for me as a parent and for my child, who would therefore miss out on childcare. Why should these hurdles be set up for me when I have valid reasons for choosing not to vaccinate in the first place? Also, why only for me and not for those choosing to vaccinate? As you can see, there is a real danger in breaching the rights of both parents and children by linking vaccination status to enrolment and financial assistance.
If you, as a concerned politician, were interested in reading a very good resource on this, might I recommend the book, “Investigate before you Vaccinate” by Sue Claridge. I’m sure after reading this, you would also find yourself considering seriously if you would want your own children vaccinated.
I hope you will do everything in your power to support parents’ rights to make health care decisions for their children without duress or financial disadvantage. My family and I thank you.
[NAME REMOVED TO PROTECT MEMBER’S PRIVACY]
2) The letter below was sent to a member of No Forced Vaccines who wrote to Mr Woodhouse and explained that her children were currently completely unvaccinated but she was planning for them to have some limited vaccines in the future and was concerned that the recommended changes to vaccination policy might adversely affect her children.
PRESS RELEASE FROM THE KIWI PARTY
Parents’ Right to Choose
The Kiwi PartyPress Release
May 6, 2011
“The Kiwi Party supports all parents and caregivers’ rights to
freely choose, without pressure from the State, whether or not to
vaccinate their children”, says Robyn Jackson Natural Health
spokesperson for the party. “And no child should suffer
discrimination because of their vaccination status”, added Jackson.
“Currently a number of parents are expressing their concern over
the recommendations in the Report of the Health Select Committee’s
inquiry on ‘How to Improve Immunisation Completion Rates in New
Zealand’ which, if implemented as they currently stand, would place
them under increasing pressure to vaccinate their children. In a free
society, this is utterly unacceptable”, says Jackson.
“Amongst a number of other concerns in these recommendations is
that the legal right of ‘Informed Consent’, which is a fundamental
concept in the provision of health care services in a democratic
society, would change dramatically. Without ‘Informed Consent’,
parents’ rights to ask, and have access to, all evidence-based
information, would stop doctors from being able to freely give that
“This is not about whether one is for or against vaccinations,
but about the loss of Informed Consent and the freedom for parents to
choose what they consider is best for their children’s health. Even
the Ministry of Health, in correspondence with the Select Committee,
expressed concern about Dr Nikki Turner’s ’5 Point Plan’ to increase
vaccination rates. This Plan is now included as part of the Select
Committee’s recommendation awaiting the National Government’s
approval. If the recommendations as they currently stand are passed
into law, this represents a significant attack on parents’ rights to
make health care decisions for their children.
“The National Party should think carefully about adopting these
recommendations as, if they do, not only will it be over-riding the
fundamental concept of Informed Consent, but it will also result in a
gross invasion into Kiwi families’ lives”, concluded Jackson.