The Don’t Divide Us.nz campaign
, which presented a petition
to Parliament last month with 87,269 signatures, is calling on the Government to ditch the divisive ‘no jab no job’
policy and allow for the use of COVID rapid antigen testing as an alternative for unvaccinated kiwis to access
workplaces, schools, marae, large gatherings, and places of worship.
“Given the developing knowledge on the effectiveness of the vaccine against the Omicron Covid-19 variant, and the
- finally (!) - of the suitability and effectiveness of the rapid antigen tests (RATs), it’s time to give jobs and
careers back to teachers, medical professionals, truck drivers, drainlayers, arborists, tennis coaches, scrap yard
workers, university students, courier drivers, apprentices, bus drivers, construction workers, volunteer firefighters,
office administrators, after-hours cleaners, fruit pickers, grounds maintenance workers, gardeners, volunteer driving
instructors, road maintenance workers, after-hours security guards, student farm-workers, and fitness instructors.”
“Let’s get the country working together again in a unified way as we battle the challenges of COVID-19.”
A recent nationwide poll
found significant support from New Zealanders for regular testing to be allowed as an option so that kiwis can keep
their jobs. Just 27% were opposed (including 30% of those who are already double jabbed).
The Government-appointed independent review group
headed by Sir Brian Roche told the Government
: “It is critical that we actively promote and achieve widespread testing across the community irrespective of the known
presence of the virus in the community. The availability of rapid antigen testing is critical to that.”
There are already changes
to allow travellers coming from 105 countries and jurisdictions, where obtaining a PCR test may be difficult or
impossible. They will have to provide evidence of a negative rapid antigen test (RAT) or loop-mediated isothermal
amplification (LAMP) test result.
In December, a large group of 15 applicants representing 110 Church congregations and 2 Mosques with over 26,000
congregants filed in the Wellington High Court an application for a Judicial Review on the church vaccine mandate
. When Governments use regulations to impose restrictions on important rights to protect us from a pandemic it is
important that they show the restrictions they put in place are the least restrictive means available to achieve their
goals. During lockdowns last year churches were happy to comply because it was important to keep everyone safe. However,
now that rapid testing is available to allow for domestic travel – and now some overseas travellers, and now that
schools can open when adopting safety measures, churches believe the same options should be available to them. The case
should be heard later this month.