NZ soldiers told: Get coronavirus vaccine or get FIRED
07/19/2021 // Ramon Tomey // Views

Actively serving members of the New Zealand Defense Forces (NZDF) lamented that they have been pressured to get the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine. The troops revealed in a letter that unvaccinated uniformed staff members received unfair treatment and undue coercion due to the vaccine. The letter also alleged that some service members were even pressured to get inoculated under threat of reassignment or termination.

The service members' letter obtained by New Zealand news website Stuff outlined the harassment unvaccinated NZDF troops faced. One instance had personnel explain to their commanding officers and other troops why they were not vaccinated – a violation of privacy laws. Another instance had personnel who refused the COVID-19 vaccine had their names listed down and pinned to the wall for other service members to see.

Even worse, some NZDF staff members who declined the COVID-19 vaccine for legitimate medical reasons felt pressured to get it. They added that if they did not accept the vaccine, they would be reassigned to a different unit or even terminated from the service.

The letter penned by lawyer Matthew Hague was addressed to New Zealand Defense Minister Peeni Henare. Hague represented the group of NZDF service members that voiced out their concerns on vaccine-related harassment. Through the letter, Hague implored Henare to intervene and ensure NZDF members received fair treatment.

The allegations outlined in the letter contradicted prior remarks by NZDF Chief Air Marshal Kevin Short. He earlier said the defense force would not be mandating people to get inoculated and "would leave it to the individual to consent or not." However, Short noted that refusing the COVID-19 vaccine could have implications when it came to deployment.


"My expectation is that everybody will be inoculated to allow them to do their role. The COVID-19 vaccine is now included within the baseline immunization readiness criteria, and therefore it is a requirement to deploy," he said.

Short also acknowledged that there were pockets of people within the NZDF declining the vaccine. He commented: "While it is every service person's right to decline a vaccination, that choice does have consequences. Specifically, electing to not meet the baseline immunization readiness criteria will result in a review of an individual's future service."

NZ would hunt down the unvaccinated – and its troops are next

An NZDF spokesperson told The Epoch Times in a July 16 email that the force had been clear with its guidelines regarding vaccination. "The NZDF has been very clear from the start of the COVID-19 vaccination program that the ability of personnel to deploy would be dependent on their vaccination status," they said. (Related: Members of the military plan to RESIGN if coronavirus vaccines are mandated.)

The spokesperson added that the NZDF "encourages all its personnel … who have questions on the COVID-19 vaccine to talk to their doctor or trusted healthcare professional."

The NZDF spokesperson's comments aligned with remarks by Henare from March 2021. In a media release, the defense minister said that the NZDF would vaccinate its entire military workforce against COVID-19.

"NZDF personnel are required to maintain readiness for other tasks such as short-notice domestic or international deployments. The NZDF also operates at the border through running its own airports and [sea] port, and many personnel live and mix communally on camps and bases. For all these reasons, it makes sense to vaccinate the whole uniformed force, numbering about 9,500 personnel," Henare said.

Henare continued that the NZDF often has to respond to natural disasters in the Pacific region and it was important that this area should be protected from COVID-19. He said: "Nobody wants to spread COVID-19 to countries in the Pacific that may be free of it. Vaccinating the deployable military force is a prudent move."

However, Hague argued there is no reason unvaccinated military personnel should not be allowed to carry on with their careers in the NZDF as those with medical waivers are already able to do so. "Demanding uniformed staff get vaccinated against their will would breach the [New Zealand] Bill of Rights," he said.

Incidentally, the reports of unvaccinated NZDF members being intimidated emerged alongside reports of the New Zealand government "hunting down" unvaccinated citizens. New Zealand Minister for COVID-19 Response Chris Hipkins said on July 6: "Early next year, we'll be in the phase of chasing up people who haven't come forward to get their vaccination, [people] who have missed their bookings and so on."

Hipkins continued: "Of course, I want every New Zealander to come forward. [But] human behavior suggests that there will be some people that we have to actually really go out and look for." (Related: New Zealand promises to HUNT PEOPLE DOWN for not submitting to covid-19 vaccinations.) has more stories about the discrimination faced by those refusing the COVID-19 vaccine.

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