Te Pāti Māori want vaccine mandates abolished

Source: 1News

Te Pāti Māori has released its own plan to tackle Covid-19, in which it would abolish Government vaccine mandates.

Māori Party co-leaders Rawiri Waititi and Debbie Ngarewa-Packer.

The only exception is for frontline hospital and medical clinic workers, as the mandate is already in place for them.

Co-leaders Rawiri Waititi and Debbie Ngarewa-Packer say the Government does not have a constitutional right to impose mandates on tangata whenua.

As enshrined in Te Tiriti o Waitangi, Māori should be able to make such decisions for themselves, they said.

Advocating for a by Māori, for Māori response, Te Pāti Māori said it should be up to whānau, hapū, iwi, businesses and communities to decide if the "important tool" of mandates should be used.

"We support them setting their own tikanga."

For those who weren't frontline health workers in hospital or medical clinics, Te Pāti Māori proposed declaring one's vaccination status to patients and getting tested regularly.

Waititi and Ngarewa-Packer said the Government and Ministry of Health had failed Māori by "consistently" ignoring the advice and recommendations of experts and tangata whenua.

"Every piece of advice given by tangata whenua over the course of this pandemic has been ignored by this Government," Ngarewa-Packer said in a statement.

"And they still don’t have a plan. Their blatant willingness to ignore Māori health expert advice is committing us to bureaucratic genocide."

Waititi and Ngarewa-Packer said health authorities knew Māori would be the most at-risk group in the pandemic.

They said the Government also knew a targeted Māori response plan and vaccination programme were essential from the start of the roll-out.

Te Pāti Māori described the Government's vaccine mandates as a "knee-jerk reaction to a failing system" which had not been well thought out.

"They have consistently provided a one size fits all approach. A narrow-minded approach that has vilified the unvaccinated people in this country. This has caused vaccination hesitancy and the division we see in this country."

Under its plan, Te Pāti Māori would also:

  • Empower and resource Māori to lead own Covid-19 response
  • Establish an independent statutory Māori pandemic response group
  • Affirm autonomy to set tikanga for tangihanga
  • Invest in holistic wellbeing
  • Implement a Māori home isolation strategy
  • Support whānau who are struggling and have been impacted by Covid-19
  • Keep international borders closed until Māori vaccination rates hit 95 per cent

As of November 15, 77 per cent of Māori have received one vaccine dose, while 61 per cent are fully vaccinated.