Waatea News Column: Willie & JT save the day. Again!

Two huge moments in politics this week were championed by Labour Party Minister Willie Jackson and Whānau Ora CEO John Tamihere.

Willie took on the challenge of reaching out to gangs in order to get vaccination rates up.

Without clear messaging to vaccinate, the virus could do unparalleled damage if it spread unchecked through gang communities but the result of Willie’s outreach was an unprecedented video of leaders from each of the largest gangs urging their members to vaccinate.

The video cost the taxpayer nothing and it helped shut down a vector for transmission.

The wider public views gangs as an evil that must be crushed so the courage to place public health concerns over society’s desire to punish by reaching out and working with gangs should be applauded.

Equally, praiseworthy was John Tamihere’s massive win against the Ministry of Health to gain access to Māori data that will help Māori Health providers target them for vaccinations to get to the 90% double vaxxed rate.

It is outrageous that Māori Health agencies are tasked with 90% vaccination rates while the Ministry of Health refuses to share data.

Tamihere’s criticism of the delays are harsh but incredibly fair when you consider we are still in the middle of a real-time health emergency.

Both wins are examples of the importance of experience and mana to directly force change against a system of politics that prefers not to change.

Willie & JT save the day.


First published on Waatea News.

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