Monday 20 September 2021 

Government challenged to walk their equity talk 

Te Rōpū Whakakaupapa Urutā is urging the Government to ensure Māori living in the upper North Island are immediately protected from an imminent spread of COVID-19. 

 

Professor Sue Crengle says that Te Rōpū Whakakaupapa Urutā has grave concerns that the upper North Island is on the brink of a new wave of COVID-19 that, if allowed to spread, will seriously impact Māori communities. 

 

“Currently, COVID-19 is not fully under control in Tāmaki Makaurau and further spread outside of Tāmaki will see more people, particularly Māori, significantly affected,” Professor Crengle said. 

 

“The vaccination programme has not met the needs of Māori, there are many unlinked COVID-19 cases, and the emergence of COVID-19 in Kaiaua/Whakatīwai means that additional communities, who had been outside of Auckland’s level 4 restrictions, are now also at significant risk.”

 

“Auckland must continue in Alert Level 4 and be joined by the Waikato region until we are absolutely certain that the spread of COVID-19 is eliminated. The remaining upper North Island from Mōkau to Tūranganui-a-Kiwa should be placed under Alert Level 3 for the same period.”

 

“Vaccination rates among Māori are currently lagging three weeks behind non-Māori. The Government must focus significant resources and effort into increasing vaccination rates among Māori immediately.”

 

“Increasing vaccination rates will help protect Māori communities from COVID illness, hospitalisations and prevent the potential loss of Māori lives.” 

 

Te Rōpū Whakakaupapa Urutā says that the Government must place the same level of concern and seriousness on Māori communities as they have done for areas like the North Shore in Auckland. 

 

“The Government has repeatedly voiced their commitment to an equitable COVID-19 response,” Professor Crengle said. 

 

“Our wero to the Prime Minister and her Cabinet is to pull out all stops to protect Māori communities with urgency by improving Māori vaccination rates and implementing the necessary alert level restrictions to protect the communities that are most at risk.”

 

“There has been a heavy focus on implementing immediate action when communities that are predominantly non-Māori are in danger.”

 

“Delivering anything short of this same effort for Māori communities is unacceptable.”