PR first, vaccines second

Kate MacNamara reports:

The taskforce itself was created in May 2020, but only in August did the Cabinet give the group, led by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), the money and the mandate to begin negotiating with international pharmaceutical companies. At that point, most of the countries to which we typically compare ourselves had already begun their advance buying.

Ultimately, a negotiating team led by Bell Gully lawyers hashed out four agreements to buy vaccine candidates for New Zealand, inked between October and December of last year.

This was good news after the slow, unfunded winter months in which the taskforce focused on other efforts, including multi-lateral buying that ultimately fell short and developing domestic vaccine manufacturing capability that never came to fruition.

Along the way, the public was fed a soothing version of events shaped by outside PR help, the funds for which the Cabinet signed off in May.

So the Government in May signed off funding for PR around the vaccine but took another three months to sign off money to actually buy the vaccines!!

The agreement with Pfizer was signed on October 6, and that news was held for six days, and released by Ministers Chris Hipkins and Megan Woods on October 12, the Monday of the election week.

Again PR trumps over substance.

%d bloggers like this: