Over half of New Zealanders support cutting benefits and tax credits for families that don't immunise their children, the latest 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton poll has found.
The Colmar Brunton poll results follow New Zealand’s worst measles outbreak in more than two decades. Source: 1 NEWS
This year alone there have been 2,172 cases of measles confirmed, New Zealand's worst outbreak in more than 20 years.
One Northland doctor has warned that a crisis is looming and is calling for tougher penalties for all families that neglect to vaccinate.
Dr Lance O’Sullivan says it's a ticking time bomb.
"We're looking at our neighbours in the Pacific with Samoa just reeling from this catastrophe which has resulted in 80 or more babies and young people dying," says Mr O’Sullivan.
Earlier this year the National party floated the idea of cutting benefits for parents who do not immunise their children, however the Prime Minister ruled that out.
But, a 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton poll asked if the Government should limit benefits or tax credits, like Working for Families, for parents who didn't fully immunise their children against preventable diseases such as measles.
There were 1,006 people who responded to the survey, with 52 per cent saying the Government should, 41 per cent against the idea and seven per cent did not know.
Vaccination advocate Dr Nikki Turner says targeting low income families will not solve the problem.
"What New Zealand may not be aware of is the depth of poverty for some of our families and how hard it is for families in poverty to access timely vaccination,” says Ms Turner.
Dr O'Sullivan is calling for compulsory vaccination and says he would like a tougher stance on Anti-vaxxers.
"We should be considering that people who are promoting anti-vaccination messages are the same as hate speech spreaders because they are causing harm,” he said.
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