Waatea News Column: Māori are paying a second price of Citizenship over COVID – make this one count!

Sir Apirana Ngata published the original ‘The Price of Citizenship’ in 1943 and argued that Māori support of the war was the best way to honour the Treaty and gain equality and respect.

This Price of Citizenship demanded justice.

It seems to me that once again Māori are sacrificing and paying a second price of citizenship over the politics behind the low vaccination rates.

Academics & Public Health officials were clear that Māori should have been vaccinated first but that position would have seen a political eruption and backlash from non-Māori that would have been weaponized by the Right.

If a Maori first policy had been implemented, there would have been a chilling impact on race relations from the high levels of Pākehā transmission and death rate. Extremists would have managed to manipulate the worst of those angers in a terrible way.

While you should never allow what Mike Hosking thinks to dictate social policy, you don’t have to give him ammunition either.

Most young Māori have only just become eligible to get vaccinated and where mobile outreach is occurring it is working.

There has been remarkable uptake by Māori over the last 5 weeks, which should be celebrated.

By putting the rest of NZ first, Māori have paid a second price of citizenship which obligates the state to provide funding for an independent Māori Health Authority.

It’s the least New Zealand can do.

First published on Waatea News.

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