COMMENT: There is an immunologist who's furious at this country for the way we have handled measles. Measles in Samoa is our fault, they claim, we have exported it there.
I'm not furious, but as a parent of kids about to take their final NCEA Level Three exams, I am like a lot of parents (and even more students) who cannot for the life of them understand why this country is inept at comparatively simple problems.
NCEA exams are about to start and run the very real risk of being interrupted, or disrupted, by those who have not been immunised. Those who aren't could wreak havoc in an incredibly important time for year 11, 12, and particularly 13 students.
Year 13 exams, for many, are critical for what comes next in their lives. What course? What university? Many courses are hard to get into, you need exemplary results. For those who want to study offshore those standards are even higher.
• Measles outbreak has sent more than 100 babies to hospital
• Two new measles cases confirmed in Hawke's Bay
• Measles vaccines at pharmacies get green light
• Measles outbreak: School holiday warning but authorities 'cautiously optimistic'
For many students their entire year, their final marks, and achievements come down to how they do in these exams over the next few weeks. Why should those exams be interrupted because too many can't get their act together, or won't get their act together?
And why do we have a Government that does little more than watch on? The number of cases is absurd. The Government's response has been an abject failure in their basic responsibility.
Their line is to educate and encourage vaccination. Well guess what? It doesn't work.
The national immunisation rate is too low, everyone says so. And when it doesn't work, their response is to say the same thing again. And then having said that, guess what? It still doesn't work.
Then we have an absurd debate about whether it's the lazy or the anti-vaxxers who are to blame, as though that achieves or solves anything. Then we have a shortage of vaccines. Then we export the disease to the islands. There is simply no need for this level of failure.
Criticise Simon Bridges all you want. And no, a 'no jab no pay' solution isn't a silver bullet, but it is effective. We know it's effective because it worked in Australia.
In places like New York, where measles got out of control for the same hopeless reasons it has here, they got tough, they pushed back, they changed laws, they made the minority act to help and protect the majority.
The definition of stupidity is to keep following the same line of approach when it's been demonstrably shown to have failed.
I have seen how hard the diligent work at their studies. I know what these exams mean to them, and their future.
So why on earth should they have any of that effort upset and disrupted because those that run the system couldn't get out of their own way if their life depended on it?