31 Oct 2019

Parents 'will do the right thing' on vaccinations - Reti

7:40 pm on 31 October 2019

National's Shane Reti says he believes in supporting parents to make the right decision for themselves on immunising their child.

National MP Shane Reti.

Shane Reti. Photo: Supplied / National Party

The Opposition party released its social services discussion document yesterday, seeking the views of its supporters on policy positions and proposals, including whether immunisation of children should be a requirement for sole parent beneficiaries.

"There is no good reason not to immunise your children in 2019. The evidence is out and it's clear," Mr Bridges told reporters yesterday after the release of the document.

"So if you don't want to vaccinate your child, here's the thing: don't take taxpayers' money."

But just a month ago, Mr Reti - the associate health spokesperson - was dismissing the idea of a a "no jab, no pay" policy, calling it intrusive and warning it would increase inequity.

While Dr Reti said it was not a problem to have disagreements, he believed in supporting parents to make the right decision for themselves.

"My view is that if we give the best information to parents, I believe parents will make the right decision that would be my preferred method to increase the vaccination of children."

Part of the point of having the document was to outline the possible positions on policies and invite public opinion, he said, emphasising that it was not an outline of the final plan.

"We're putting out there various views and we're wanting to see what the people of New Zealand think as to how they might guide us to what would be good policy."

Dr Reti said he's talked with Mr Bridges about the document since its release, but he did not push-back against the leader - merely welcomed the discussion.

The idea of the policy was also raised in his monthly meeting with other doctors, he said, and there were mixed views - with some saying it had been effective in their communities, while others told him they felt awkward from the position of being advocates for patients.

He said will be expressing his view in caucus along with the other 55 MPs.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs