24 Oct 2019

'Export' of measles to Pacific 'very disappointing' - NZ Opposition MP

10:00 am on 24 October 2019

New Zealand's export of measles to its Pacific neighbours is "very disappointing," says a New Zealand Opposition MP.

No caption

Photo: RNZ /Dom Thomas

A sick traveller from Auckland carried the disease to Samoa, where seven measles cases have been confirmed.

There are also 169 suspected cases in Samoa, including one that lead to the death of an infant.

And in Tonga, a measles outbreak was declared yesterday after members of a school rugby team contracted the virus on a trip to New Zealand.

Sixty-eight cases have been confirmed in Tonga.

New Zealand has to help its Pacific neighbours tackle the disease, the MP Shane Reti said.

"If it came from a New Zealand outbreak, I think we have some responsibility to them, and we should be collaborating and helping as much as we can," Dr Reti said.

"It's a consequence of a government that removed health targets. It's a consequence of a government that missed multiple warning signs that we were due for an outbreak. And here we are today with nearly 1800 cases of measles and now we're exporting it as well. It's simply not good enough."

National MP Shane Reti.

National MP Shane Reti. Photo: Supplied / National Party

New Zealand allowed measles to spread to the Pacific, Dr Reti said, despite warnings from the World Health Organisation.

"It's very disappointing that it's now continued to leave our shores to our Pacific neighbours," Dr Reti said.

He said he had raised the issue in Parliament because New Zealand had to get measles under control and help its Pacific neighbours with outbreaks that New Zealand had helped spread.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs