by Amanda Vickers

Protestors assembled outside the High Court in Molesworth Street with their slogan-bearing placards and banners from very early yesterday morning. The atmosphere was palpable with anticipation. The court was overflowing; the AudioVisual room for additional people was also brimming. One of the mainstream media reporters said they had never seen so many people attend a High Court case.

We were there because lawyer Sue Grey, representing Nga Kaitiaki Tuku Iho Inc, is claiming the Pfizer vaccine is being rolled out illegally.

The crux of the case is that Medsafe has only given provisional consent for the Pfizer vaccine under the Medicines Act section 23(1). Medsafe’s considerations are safety, efficacy and purity of the manufacturing process and there are still 58 conditions to be met.

The clause says provisional consent is only to be given for a drug on a restricted basis to a limited number of people.  The legal case is based on the claim that the entire population of NZ (over 16) is not a restricted basis for a limited number of people.

That sounded pretty straightforward to me. I’m not a lawyer, but I was intrigued as to how something so obvious could be drawn out over a whole day.

I was there for two reasons. First, the rule of law is of utmost importance to me. If the government was being brazen with its approach — which I felt it was — then they should be held to account.

Second, after looking closely at the Medsafe documents, I too felt concerned about the inconsistency of the “safe and effective” marketing slogans being bandied about by the government. After all, Medsafe’s documents clearly said otherwise. 

Lawyer Sue Grey read out documents from Medsafe with indignation, such as for example “Medsafe considers that the safety specification for this product is currently inadequate and does not accurately reflect the important known risks, important potential risks or missing information. “


When Sue Grey beautifully articulated this, along with the risk management plan clapping and cheering broke out from the crowd which was quickly reprimanded by security — we would be thrown out if we continued. “This is not a performance,” we were told.

I felt that judge Ellis softened a bit in her approach to the case once she had heard a lot of the evidence. She listened very carefully to both sides making sure she understood all the points made and where the statements and claims were coming from. I think she seemed a little surprised to hear the references and quotes from official sources from the claimants statements. I think like the public, she too initially only knew what she’d been fed by the mainstream media and the government.

The Crown solicitor did not argue that all of NZ (except those under 16) was a limited number of people. Indeed the judge also appeared to accept that it was not. The respondent said “the provisional consent is part of the Minister’s evaluative exercise rather than being a restriction”. I’m not a lawyer and have no clue what that means; whether it will hold legally remains to be seen.

The respondent also made a number of other comments I considered silly and irrelevant such as:

  • “If this case is upheld, there could be a serious chilling effect on the public uptake of the vaccine”

My response is that the case is about whether the rollout is legal or not. And if knowing the truth has a chilling effect, then it is clear that important information has been withheld and it is not an informed consent process.

The respondent also argued

  • “If this case is upheld, it will cost the government millions of dollars of wasted vaccines

Again, my response is that the case is about whether the rollout is legal or not. But if the government had been upfront with important information in the first place, instead of offering blanket reassurances about safety, then this waste of money could have been avoided.

The judge reserved her decision till next week.

In the meantime, in response to the continuing single narrative about the safety and effectiveness of the Pfizer vaccine, I started to compile information on a website with references for material for those who want to make a truly informed consent: