New Zealand Prime Jacinda Ardern responded in the affirmative to a statement that her administration is creating two separate classes of vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals with new mandates and passport systems.
“So, you’ve basically said, this is gonna be like, well it’s almost like, and you probably don’t see it like this, as two different classes of people, if you’re vaccinated or if you’re unvaccinated,” an interviewer told Ardern during an interview last week. “You have all these rights if you are vaccinated,”
“That it is what it is,” Ardern said in response. “So, yep. Yep.”
Ardern added that her recent moves to use COVID-19 vaccine certificates are “not just a tool to drive up vaccines,” but “a tool for confidence” across New Zealand.
“People who have been vaccinated will want to know that they’re around other vaccinated people, they’ll want to know that they’re in a safe environment,” she added. “It is a way that we can give confidence to those who are going back into hospitality or events. And so, that is something that I think we should offer to people who have been vaccinated, that confidence that we are doing everything we can to keep them safe, and that they can come back out and start enjoying those things safely.”
Opponents of vaccine mandates—including requiring that customers or employees provide proof of vaccination before entering a facility—have said that such systems would create a caste-based society of unvaccinated and vaccinated people. Demonstrations against mandates have erupted across the United States, Europe, and Australia in recent weeks.
Some have also criticized vaccine passports as being invasive of individuals’ right to privacy, while others, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, have raised concerns that passport databases would not be able to keep users’ data secure. In an article in late August, the organization said that one prominent passport app would also include an expansion of what it can hold, including driver licenses and other health records.
Mandates, however, have been touted by Ardern and President Joe Biden as being an effective means to increase vaccinations despite warnings from industry groups and businesses.
While vaccine passport systems have only been implemented in several major U.S. cities, the federal government has instead opted to press large businesses and federal contractors to institute vaccinations as a requirement to stay employed.
On Sept. 9, Biden announced that private companies that have 100 or more workers will have to implement a vaccine requirement or have workers submit to weekly testing in a move that has drawn criticism from Republican leaders and some industry groups.
The Epoch Times has contacted Ardern’s office for additional comment.