On Wednesday Chris Bishop got Chris Hipkins on record regarding New Zealand’s pedestrian vaccine rollout. Hipkins advised on questioning by Bishop that he hadn’t received or seen a document written about the vaccine rollout in late January.

Chris Bishop: Is he aware that the document I have just cited to him is dated 26 January 2021 but outlines the Pfizer delivery schedule from 15 February 2021, and outlines for the Government what that will mean in terms of the delivery schedule for the vaccine programme, and why is the Government so behind on its administration of the vaccine?

Hon CHRIS HIPKINS: We are not. We are tracking at about 95 percent of the allocation schedule that we have been working to. I don’t know the document the member is referring to, but I do struggle to see how it could contain information from February if it’s dated in January.

Hansard

Then yesterday Hipkins was missing in action and instead sent Ayesha Verrall over the top into the machine gun fire.

Verrall promptly dropped Hipkins in it:

9. CHRIS BISHOP (National) to the Minister for COVID-19 Response: Did he receive a paper from the Ministry of Health dated 26 January 2021 outlining the initial delivery schedule of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine and an 11-week roll-out schedule; if so, why has New Zealand not cumulatively administered 390,413 as stated at week seven?

Hon Dr AYESHA VERRALL (Associate Minister of Health): on behalf of the Minister for COVID-19 Response: My office received the document on 28 January. This was a draft early design plan which showed one scenario based on information available at the time. Specifically, it shows three phases, with delivery dates only available for phase 1, reflecting the first tranche of Pfizer vaccine doses we purchased. Since then, we made a decision in February to purchase enough Pfizer to cover the population over 16 years of age, meaning an additional 8.5 million doses. On the basis of that, we also then received several updated delivery schedules from Pfizer. We then developed a roll-out model that consistently scaled the number of doses given per day over time until July, when the majority of our stocks arrive. This means the model we operate to now differs substantially from the draft document in question. We also made decisions in February to change the sequencing framework to prioritise border workers and front-line health workers.

Hansard

So which is it Chippy? Not seen it, or Received in your office on January 28?

This is good work by Chris Bishop, who also had Ayesha Verrall looking distinctly uncomfortable…and almost at Clare Curran levels of incompetence.

If National were smart they’d keep on clubbing Verrall. I can see her doing a Clare Curran if she is kept to answering questions.

This might seem rather boring to many, but it is this sort of hammering that breaks ministers and once you break them you start making inroads into their popularity.

Please share this article with others.

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Did Chippy Lie and Is Ayesha Verrall the Next Clare Curran?
Cam Slater

Cam Slater

As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news,...