14 Mar 2017

NZ should consider 'no jab, no play' laws - Labour

12:24 pm on 14 March 2017

An Australian plan to ban unvaccinated children from childcare centres and pre-schools is worth considering, the Labour Party says.

Australia is considering banning unvaccinated children from childcare centres.

Three Australian states require children to be immunised before they can enrol in childcare centres. Photo: AFP / VOISIN / Phanie

Some Australian states already have "no jab, no play" laws, and the country's prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, has called for nationwide legislation.

Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria require children to be immunised, or be on an approved catch-up programme, to enrol in childcare centres.

Unvaccinated children can enrol in childcare centres in Northern Territory, ACT, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania.

Labour Party leader Andrew Little said New Zealand had higher vaccination rates than Australia, but they were still not high enough.

"We have to make sure that our vaccination programmes are working and aren't being compromised by large numbers of children who are not being vaccinated.

"I think it is well worth looking at what we're achieving here and whether the same conditions that obviously exist in Australia apply here."

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman said government had no plans to change its policy.

Banning children from childcare and pre-schools would harm their long-term prospects.

"I think it's actually really important that all children get access to early childhood education.

"We've got very high vaccination rates, I mean they are approaching 95 percent and in the end there is always going to be a certain proportion of people who are just going to strongly resist getting their kids vaccinated."