12 Oct 2021

Covid-19: NZEI says most members will be supportive of vaccine mandate

From Morning Report, 6:15 am on 12 October 2021

The education sector supports the new vaccine mandate, but says it is still worried about the possible impact it might yet have on staffing levels.

New Zealand Educational Institute national secretary Paul Goulter told Morning Report his group takes heart from recent figures in New South Wales suggesting teachers are taking their shots in greater numbers than most other groups.

"Whilst there are a number of people who have vaccine hesitancy, we think there's overwhelming support for this policy."

Goulter said he has heard from some members that they do not want to be vaccinated, and the union will support them through the relevant employment processes.

"The Ministry of Education has already signalled that it wants to work with the unions on that. So exactly what that looks like we need to work on."

He said the situation could be tricky, but in other ways it is "fairly standard".

"There's proper and well accepted employment processes now which apply in any circumstance like this.

"People have a right to a fair hearing, we have to check out what the options are for those people. Every case must be dealt with and on its own merits.

"So, we just apply that standard employment law processes to these cases.

"But ultimately, it is, as I understand it, it's going to be pretty clear cut that what's going to be expected of educators."