Plans to reopen borders have been drawn up without consultation with Maori, or consideration for their well-being.
February 4, 2022
Border reopening plans must take into account the impacts and risks for Maori communities.
“We understand the importance of people being able to return home and families being able to reconnect,” says health researcher and lecturer Dr. Donna Cormack,
“But we are concerned that despite repeated calls from Maori and strong and clear messages from the Waitangi Tribunal to the Government late last year, this announcement fails to take into account the disparate impacts and risks for Maori communities. .
“Neither Grant Robertson’s press release, nor the Prime Minister’s speech yesterday, address issues of equity or speak specifically to what this reopening of the border will mean for Maori communities, or how whose Maori have been significantly involved in these decisions.”
She says that due to the “racist and inequitable deployment of the vaccination programme”, Maori later had access to vaccination against COVID-19 and are therefore not as protected as other population groups.
“Furthermore, there are already inequities in the deployment of pediatric vaccination, which means that Tamariki Maori are much less protected than Pākehā children – currently vaccination rates for Tamariki Maori are around half of those for the total population.
“It is frustrating and truly worrying that the government is once again ready to go ahead with plans which carry more risk for Maori than for other groups.
“At the very least, he should be clear about this in his communications – hiding behind statements about total population rates obscures the reality that we are not all moving together safely.