The National Party is distancing itself from a former MP who has questioned the effectiveness of the Covid vaccine in a lengthy video that has been labelled dangerous.
Matt King was voted out as Northland MP last election after serving one term and has been a vocal critic of the government’s Covid-19 response in recent months.
Last week he hosted a 40-minute conversation on Facebook with University of Auckland epidemiologist Simon Thornley, during which the pair discussed ideas common in anti-vax groups.
In reply, on King’s public facebook page he has said this:
A week ago, I did a livestream with an experienced epidemiologist. In this livestream, I made it clear that the purpose of the livestream was to talk about the facts and figures about COVID-19 – not treatments or vaccinations.
Today’s Radio NZ report has extracted parts of this livestream out of context. I stand by my comments previously that I am against mandates, and I believe that the COVID response needs to be multi-layered – vaccinations are part of the response, not the only response.
My views are mine, and I consider it my duty to have an open and honest conversation with people looking for an avenue to discuss the issues that they have questions or concerns about. There is an avalanche of information in the public arena – however, it lacks any critical thinking.
The ability to debate issues can often alleviate concerns – discussion is a way to debate the issues. That is my intention, and I will continue to advocate for people who are looking to have an open and honest discussion, irrespective of which side of politics or issues they sit on.
It is a well-known fact that the vaccine roll-out has been a shambles, so while it might seem opportunistic to blame someone for this now, let’s look beyond the past week. It’s a shame that Radio NZ and other news outlets didn’t pick up my previous livestream on the biased media in New Zealand – and the role they play in suppressing freedom of speech in our democratic nation, and their inability to hold the Govt to account!”
I don’t think the comment was overblown. The excerpts played by Radio New Zealand include the following comments:
Thornley’s fellow Epidemiologist Rod Jackson was interviewed and thought that the claim was rubbish and delivered Thornley a real serve. He said this:
“There is no trial evidence that Ivermectin works in people with Covid. It doesn’t exist. There are trials going on, which is appropriate, but there is no trial evidence.
This is typical of Simon [Thornley] and typical of many of the people who are against vaccination and against the New Zealand approach to addressing Covid. And that is they pull out little bits of largely irrelevant information and don’t look at the whole context.
… This is a severe disease and we have an evidence based treatment where there is definitive evidence that it reduces the risk of severe disease and death by 95%, in that order. And we have someone who is questioning that evidence who doesn’t know what they are talking about talking to an epidimiologist who doesn’t know what he is talking about. I think it is dangerous, because people could die.
As for the “shambolic roll out”of the vaccine the evidence would beg to differ. New Zealand is in the top half of the rollout in the OECD and our daily vaccine dose numbers are still relatively high. The country is advancing towards the 90% vaccination rate, a level which many countries can only dream about.
Collins’s response is interesting. She still thinks there is viable political support in a nation where in the near future over 90% of the population will be vaccinated.