Vaccine pass no longer needed

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Ashburton District Council will remove the use of My Vaccine Pass at all its facilities from 11.59pm on April 4.

Councillors unanimously backed a resolution at a special meeting on Tuesday and will follow the government’s lead in lifting the pass requirement.

My Vaccine Pass will no longer be needed at EA Networks Centre, the council building, Ashburton Public Library, art gallery, museum, council chamber, Mt Hutt Memorial Hall and Ashburton Holiday Park.

On December 15 council adopted a hybrid approach to introducing My Vaccine Pass entry requirements at some facilities during red and orange settings and gave chief executive Hamish Riach delegation regarding future Covid-19 and Covid-19 Protection Framework matters in the green setting.

A new resolution has now extended that delegation to both orange and green settings.

Mr Riach said council had worked hard to follow government’s direction and had done what had been asked of it.

Council had never tried to second guess the government science and would continue to be consistent with its decision-making.

Covid rules were altering all the time and flexibility and delegation would enable council to continue to respond to change in a timely fashion, he said.

He said council staff would be consulted on the newly adopted policy through a separate internal process.

Ashburton District mayor Neil Brown said covid numbers were coming down in Auckland and were starting to head the same way in Canterbury.

There had been costs to everyone over the last two years but the latest decision to do away with vaccine passes was a step on the road to a “new normal”, whatever a new normal was.

Councillor Rodger Letham said he wasn’t sure if the government decision to pull vaccine passes was political or based on medical advice and he supported council’s latest decision “with some reservations”.

Councillor Lynette Lovett said she was pleased other councils had also done away with passes because it was now time to move on.

She wanted pressure put on government to remove mask rules and to get rid of the traffic light system.

-By Mick Jensen