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  • Robert MacCulloch

The BBC versus the NZ Prime Minister

Our PM said today, regards the vaccine roll-out: "It's not at all delayed ... This is as we anticipated - you'll recall from the very first moment we were talking about our vaccine plan, we were talking about the fact that it would take the best part of a year".


If "not at all delayed" means that NZ is on course to take longer to distribute the vaccine than it took Pfizer to invent the vaccine, then the statement certainly symbolizes a victory for free markets and a failure of big government.


The PM added: "This week, in the coming days, we'll hit the milestone of 1 million doses having gone out, and when you look at New Zealand's strategy, which is to fully vaccinate people… we're ahead of Japan, we're ahead of Australia - so we're tracking well".


However, the BBC website, where I get my country rankings based on vaccination doses per 100 people, doesn't concur with this statement. It puts NZ behind Australia and behind Japan and bottom of the entire OECD. What's going on? Has the Ministry of Health supplied the PM with statistics that play with definitions? Is it trying to spin the news by drawing a distinction between "full vaccinations" and "total doses administered"? Would that mean the rankings change a tiny bit? If so, the Ministry hasn't served the PM well by going down the road of word play.


Here are the PM's lines to Newshub:


https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2021/06/covid-19-vaccine-rollout-not-at-all-delayed-jacinda-ardern.html


and here is the BBC ranking:


https://www.bbc.com/news/world-56237778