Council challenged

Nina Parker, centre front, with her family and their socially distanced friends and supporters.

A legal fighting fund to challenge Waipā District Council’s decision to require passports for public venues has raised more than $6000 towards the $10,500 it needs to go to court.

Nina Parker, the Cambridge woman who launched the appeal and is behind a representative legal action, says she had received an overwhelming response from both vaccinated and unvaccinated people.

“This decision does not represent how they want Waipā to move forward,” she said.

Garry Dyet

But Waipā chief executive Garry Dyet is adamant he has made the right decision as he could not get assurances he could keep the district’s services going if staff themselves got Covid.

Visitors 12 years, three months and older must present their My Vaccine Pass for entry to Te Awamutu and Cambridge libraries, Te Awamutu Museum, council buildings including front counters and meeting spaces, council-managed community halls and council dog control facilities.

Dyet said he made the decision to protect frontline staff and vulnerable members of the community.

Neighbouring councils in Hamilton and Ōtorohanga made similar decisions but Matamata-Piako will not enforce vaccine passes for access to its facilities, except at the Te Aroha Mineral Spas.

Dyet said library, museum and rates related online services would continue at Waipā.

The biggest impact of the vaccine pass requirement would be at swimming pools in Cambridge and Te Awamutu. Someone with a vaccine pass would have to accompany children under 12.

Parker said two main groups had emerged from the vaccine pass requirement.

The first was families with young children who attend swimming lessons and who do not have access to a fully vaccinated person who the child is comfortable with.

The second was home-schooling or community groups who use libraries and halls as key access points for education.

“To think we would get everything right through this, without mistakes to me, is not a reasonable expectation.

“But when an error is made, each of us has a societal duty to stand and raise the appropriate questions and debates. This is what I have done, and I would like to thank the numerous calls, emails and messages I have had in support of this,” said Parker.

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