Māori Development Minister meets with gangs over vax

Source: 1News

Māori Development Minister Willie Jackson met remotely with gang leaders on Friday night to discuss vaccination, Q+A can reveal. 

Māori Development Minister Willie Jackson (file image).

Jackson did so alongside Deputy Police Commissioner Wally Haumaha. 

The minister told presenter Jack Tame the discussions were a "good start" as they had met to "try and map out a bit of a strategy". 

"All of us agree Delta does not discriminate ..."

Jackson said he had not been directed by the prime minister to set up the meeting, but had put up his hand to do it after talks in Cabinet. 

He told Tame: "I can't play politics here, we can't play politics here. We've got to look after the safety of all Kiwis and that's what this is all about."

"We've got a national public health crisis. Someone's got to work with the gangs, someone's got to engage with the gangs and maybe that someone should be me because I've worked with gangs for many, many years," Jackson said.

"I want to help, I want to support our country, and this is the best way I can do it," he said. 

Jackson said Friday was a kōrero and would not be drawn throughout the interview on which gangs he had met with. 

This was despite an independent source telling Tame the gangs Jackson had met with included the Mongrel Mob, Black Power and the Tribesmen. 

When asked what kind of resources the Government might pour into getting gang communities vaccinated, Jackson said nothing had been decided yet but said it could involve putting a bus in or helping members get to it. 

Jackson said he wanted to build on the "good work" the likes of Waikato Mongrel Mob Kingdom head Sonny Fatupaito, Mongrel Mob life member Harry Tam and  Black Power New Zealand president Mark Pitman were already doing in the Covid-19 space.

He assured New Zealanders he was not being naïve in meeting with the gangs and said that there would be no money from him or his office for them.

Jackson said he had been having "hard chats" with gangs for 40 years and that he knew "all their tricks".

"No one can pull the wool over my eyes, Jack."