The Greens say Aotearoa should continue to pursue Covid-19 elimination outside of Auckland as the city prepares to open its borders next month as vaccination rates near 90 per cent double doses.
The party’s co-leader Marama Davidson told Q + A’s Jack Tame that until Aotearoa has equitable vaccination rates for Māori it is unsafe for the country to move into the traffic light system.
“Our Māori expertise in Covid, our Māori health providers should have been at the table from the very start to enable us to properly target those equities that are long-standing with Māori communities,” she said.
Māori vaccination rates are the lowest in the country with just 79 per cent first doses and 64 per cent second.
Davidson says it’s important to acknowledge we can’t try and build the distrust that Māori have faced with government agencies.
“There has historically been a long period of mistrust right from colonisation."
She says it’s no surprise we’re playing catch-up with Māori vaccination rates. Regional public health systems need to be prioritised before we should think about easing restriction, she says.
It’s a matter of weeks not months more at Alert Level 3 “while we get vaccination rates up”, Davidson explained.
“We could accelerate the increase in vaccination rates if we put everything in to access and trust and local provider issues.”
On November 29, the Prime Minister is set to confirm Auckland’s move to the traffic light system, which is expected to come into effect in early December.
Auckland will move straight into the red traffic light early next month where vaccination certificates will play a crucial role.
Gatherings are capped at 100 people if vaccination certificates are used, but if they are not implemented, most businesses must operate as contactless only.