The Māori Party want a tangata whenua led COVID-19 response and for mandates to be abolished, saying the government has failed to provide equitable opportunities for Māori.
On Wednesday, Te Pāti Māori co-leaders Rawiri Waititi and Debbie Ngarewa-Packer launched their COVID-19 Pandemic Response Policy.
Jesus wept, what the Christ are the Māori Party doing?
To give them the benefit of the doubt, let’s first appraise their suggestions before damning them for rhetoric that if spoken by anyone else would justify Police attention.
Te Pāti Māori’s COVID-19 Pandemic Response Policy policy proposes:
- Empower and resource Māori to lead our own COVID-19 response
- Establish an independent statutory Māori Pandemic Response Group
- Abolish government mandates
- 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 our international borders closed until Māori vaccination rates hit 95 percent
We can all agree that Maori led health providers are one of the success stories here. They have shown outreach capacity within their own community that is unparalleled to Pakeha dominated DHBs. They should be properly empowered and resourced.
The establishment of a Maori Pandemic Response Group makes sense and should be implemented.
You can’t abolish Government mandates, this is a public health crisis not a racist policy against Maori and attempting to portray it as such is disingenuous in the extreme.
While Tikanga for tangihanga must always and will always be set by Maori – again these restrictions are a public health issue not a racist crackdown on Maori funeral customs!
Investment in holistic wellbeing is great. Let’s do that.
Implementation of a Maori home insulation strategy is wise and good.
Supporting struggling Whānau is righteous.
I agree with keeping our international borders closed until Maori hit 95% vaccination rates.
So all up some great ideas, most of which I agree with but that’s not all they have said.
The Maori Party have disgraced themselves by using rhetoric that if used by any other politician would see them criticized and asked to stand down!
Rawiri Waititi said the party was fundamentally opposed to mandates because they were a direct attack on our constitutional rights under Te Tiriti o Waitangi.
“Their [government] latest mandate programme is a knee-jerk reaction to a failing system that has not been well thought out,” Waititi said.
“They have consistently provided a one size fits all approach. A narrow-minded approach that has vilified the unvaccinated people in this country,” he said.
“This has caused vaccination hesitancy and the division we see in this country.”
“Māori constantly find ourselves having to pick up the pieces of reckless government legislation that continues to marginalise and criminalise our people,” Waititi said.
“We are still recovering from legislation forced onto our people and for this reason we do not trust.”
Debbie Ngarewa-Packer said the government had failed to provide equity for Māori in accessing information, resources and vaccinations.
She said they had actively blocked efforts to protect our communities.
“I have witnessed the gaps with my very own eyes. Every piece of advice given by Tangata Whenua over the course of this pandemic has been ignored by this government. And they still don’t have a plan,” Ngarewa-Packer said.
“Their blatant willingness to ignore Māori health expert advice is committing us to beauracratic genocide.”
Describing this as a ‘beauracratic genocide’ while using the wild rhetoric of Rawiri is deeply offensive and a direct play to the AntiVaxxer electorate.
The Maori Party are flirting with a segment of society who should be pacified not celebrated.
If they had simply left it at their suggested ideas this would have been a good addition to the debate but by framing it in such divisive terms they are actually the fanning themselves fires of extremism.
Any other political party would be called out for such dangerous tactics.
AntiVaxxers are not a fringe group who should be rewarded politically.
The Maori Party are playing a very dangerous game by using words designed to create fear and anger at a time when leadership requires calm legitimacy.
This isn’t that.
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