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Vaccine Pass protest: ‘segregation, discrimination’

Gisborne District Council's introduction of a mandatory Vaccine Pass rule for entering and using its facilities was met with rowdy protest yesterday.

The council yesterday morning confirmed the requirement while Gisborne is in the red stage of the Covid-19 protection framework which started today.

Around 50 protesters gathered outside the council buildings in Fitzherbert Street to oppose it.

Vaccine passes are now needed to enter council-owned pools, theatres, the library and its customer services area in Gisborne.

In a media statement released yesterday, council chief executive Nedine Thatcher-Swann said “the health and safety of staff, customers and our community comes first”.

Protester Lynda Markie said her 83-year-old mother was a swimmer who was fully vaccinated, but because she did not have the capability to access a Vaccine Pass, she would miss out on swimming.

“She is going to get locked out of the pool if she doesn't get her papers organised. That is segregation and discrimination.

“We do not need this over-reaching system which is an extra step from what the Government is saying with this red light traffic system.

“I don't believe that this is necessary for our community.”

Protestor Karen Morrow said they were pro-choice, not anti-vax.

“What this council is doing is an absolute discrimination by barring everybody from the pools and library if they are unvaccinated.”

Protestor Bridget (no surname given) said there was no Government directive for the council to mandate the vaccine passes.

“This council has decided they are going to do that and segregate our community from the library and museum.

“They have released a pretty strong message and it's very sad.”

Official guidelines state that in red, public facilities may open with capacity limits based on one-metre physical distancing.

Face coverings are mandatory except for those who are exempt, or in swimming pools.

However, a My Vaccine Pass verification entry system can be implemented if those operating the facility choose to.

Protestor Kaye Foreman said they had a right as ratepayers to go to council facilities supported by their money.

“People need to start waking up. This is discrimination like I have never seen before. I want the council to say that they are open to have unvaccinated and vaccinated members of the community . . . we are citizens of Gisborne/Tairāwhiti.”

Protestor Brandon Jeffs said the council was dividing an already divided community.

“I have a friend who teaches swim coaching and he said to me that they were threatening to take away his reason to get out of bed.

“He's been mandated by Surf Life Saving New Zealand to get vaccinated. He's had no choice.

“I know a lot of people who benefit physically and mentally from swimming. The new pool complex would've provided them that.

“I think it's rude that the Government has left those recreational areas open and the council has made its own decisions to do this.”

‘VACCINE PASSES EQUAL APARTHEID': That was among the signs waved outside the Gisborne District Council buildings yesterday as around 50 people took part in a 'freedom protest' against the council making vaccine passports a requirement to enter council-owned pools, theatres, the public library and its customer services area. Picture by Rebecca Grunwell

  1. C Nicholson says:

    The Gisborne Council should refund the rates money paid by unvaccinated people in Gisborne for services they can no longer access. It is absolutely unfair for Gisborne council to ban unvaccinated people from using these services. What a shame that this is happening in Gisborne! I’m lost for words.

    1. Yolanda Kereru says:

      TOTALLY AGREE WITH C NICHOLSON – SINCE GDC ARE BANNING PEOPLE WHO HAVE CHOSEN NOT TO CAPITULATE TO GOVT-MANDATED VACCINATION – IE. THEY HAVE EXERCISED THEIR INALIENABLE AND FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS (IE. NATURAL RIGHTS) GIVEN TO EVERY HUMAN BEING ON THIS PLANET BY OUR CREATOR – SHOULDN’T THE GDC THEN SUBTRACT ALL MONIES FROM THEIR RATES ETC THAT THESE GOOD PEOPLE PAY, SINCE THEY ARE NOW BANNED FROM ACCESSING GDC-OWNED PROPERTIES????

  2. Will Dobbie says:

    Seriously ? : “and its customer services area”

    Well, I pay rates by walking into the building, using the EftPos terminal and get a paper receipt for tax records. So that next rates payment will not happen unless GDC puts an EftPos terminal on an outside wall, or similar?
    If GDC insists we go paperless they could supply the electronic device and the annual broadband fee, and insurance in case the device gets dropped, lost or stolen.
    How about the homestead building to connect the Broadband to, when a fixed address is expected?
    All this for a disease not much more lethal to under-70 people than the annual influenza . . . ?
    As the Chinese curse says, “May you live in Interesting Times”.
    WillD

  3. Peter Jones says:

    Hipkins’ own Upper Hutt council has demonstrated that these mandates are mandates and not laws. The decision to close council facilities to the unvaxxed public is not lawful. It is a council decision only and indeed it is the wrong decision.

    1. Wendy Leonard, Waikato says:

      Correct, the council does NOT have to do this. Creating a discriminating policy will cause much distress and will see the council voted out in the future.

    2. Brooke says:

      What a disgrace. V Passes are a mandate, not a law. Councils choose to enforce them. This is not what our community needs. Those choosing to be unvaccinated are already paying a high price to maintain medical freedoms. The unvaccinated are unable to enjoy many social aspects of participating in society, in many cases, including loss of livelihoods!