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'Pro-choice': RealNZ employee Tracey Wood says she's prepared to lose her job over the vaccination mandate

By GUY WILLIAMS

Queenstown tourism worker Tracey Wood is ‘‘definitely not’’ getting a Covid jab, and expects to lose her job as a result.

Wood’s been working for tourism giant RealNZ for the past four months in a hospitality team at Walter Peak High Country Farm and on the TSS Earnslaw.

She tells Mountain Scene all staff were sent an email by management last week asking for
feedback on the issue.

‘‘Reading between the lines, it’ll be mandatory.

‘‘Everyone’s in limbo at the moment.’’

She describes her stance as ‘‘pro-choice’’.

‘‘I’m not anti-vax or into conspiracy theories.’’

However, although scientists and experts have verified and backed the safety and effectiveness of the Pfizer vaccine, she has misgivings because she thinks its trial period’s been too short.

She also hates what she calls the government’s ‘‘fear-driven’’ approach to Covid.

‘‘It’s dividing communities, it’s dividing families.’’

She knows of ‘‘a few’’ work mates with similar views.

Wood says RealNZ’s been a good employer, and she wouldn’t blame the company if she loses her job.

If it wants to operate fully, it’s got to go along with government policy, she adds.

‘‘There’s no blame here, they are fantastic, I’ve got nothing but good things to say about
them.’’

If she’s fired, she expects to return to the Motueka area, from where she came to the resort.

No jab deadline yet

RealNZ’S still working through the process of deciding its vaccination policy, boss Stephen
England-Hall says.

‘Difficult decision’: RealNZ boss Stephen England-Hall. PICTURE: REALNZ

He tells Scene the company’s carried out a risk assessment for all roles, as well as for its guests, contractors and suppliers.

It’s now in the final stages of consulting staff, with feedback due by today, England-Hall
says.

He acknowledges getting jabbed is a ‘‘difficult decision’’ for some staff members.

‘‘Ultimately though, in my view, this is about public good and community, rather than individual choice.’’

If the company make it mandatory, and some staff members refuse, ‘‘we will explore all options with them individually’’, he says.

The company arranged a live online Q&A session for staff with University of Auckland epidemiologist Rod Jackson on Tuesday night.

guy.williams@scene.co.nz