Te Pāti Māori label Seymour's sharing of Māori vaccine code 'low life move'

Anna Whyte
Source: 1News

Te Pāti Māori has labelled the public sharing of a vaccination code meant for Māori "a low life move and divisive politics at its finest", after ACT leader David Seymour revealed the code on a social media platform. 

Seymour said the implication of the priority vaccination code was that the Government believed Māori were unable to book vaccinations, adding - "that is completely wrong". 

Seymour today had written online, "if you’re worried about vaccination waiting times, you no longer need to make an appointment".

"All you need to do is use this access code…"

An email was attached which contained a priority access code for Māori to attend an Auckland drive through vaccination site without booking. 

Te Pāti Māori co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer said it was a "sad day when a supposed leader of this country intentionally sets out to sabotage a positive campaign aimed at saving the lives of the lowest vaccinated peoples in our country".

David Seymour's tweet about Māori vaccination access code

"The Government hasn’t delivered on their so called Māori vaccination plan and so our Māori organisations have had no choice but to take matters into their own hands and get creative about the way they can prioritise Māori while still delivering to all."

"Māori are trying their best to keep ourselves alive and be proactive about contributing to the country’s elimination strategy. 

"An elimination strategy includes all Māori being vaccinated. Why Seymour would actively sabotage a Māori elimination strategy is dangerous," Ngarewa-Packer said. 

Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson said it was "disgusting and dangerous".

"For absolute shame that a vaccination code, meant for Māori, was shared publicly to stuff up those health centres and staff directly for doing their essential work for at risk communities," she tweeted. 

Her co-leader James Shaw called the sharing of the code a "dick move". 

Seymour said his party believed "in a New Zealand where each and every person is treated equally".

"There are many inequitable accesses to the vaccine up and down New Zealand. We can all find particular DHBs, particular age groups or particular ethnicities that have not accessed the vaccine at the correct rate. 

"ACT's contention is that for the Government to start categorising and identifying people purely based on race rather than need is an enormous mistake, it is divisive, it infantilises some New Zealanders and infuriates the rest. 

"We believe such an initiative can only lead New Zealand to a worse place in the long term."

"The virus doesn’t discriminate on race, so neither should the roll out."

According to figures from the Ministry of Health, almost one in seven Kiwis received a Covid-19 vaccination in the seven-day period through to August 31. While for Māori, vaccination rates were closer to one in 11.

Newsroom recently reported a study by Te Pūnaha Matatini that indicated Māori has the same level of hospitalisation risk from Covid-19 as a Pākehā person who was 20 years older.

On Sunday, Associate Health Minister Peeni Henare said he was frustrated with the lagging numbers of Māori getting vaccinated against Covid-19. 

"I know the numbers are rising but they're stubbornly low," he said.

He said there had been initiatives to encourage Māori to get vaccinated, including Māori-led vaccination centres.

Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson said partnerships between the Ministry of Health, district health boards, and Māori and iwi providers aimed to lift vaccination rates of Māori.