This is a moment in history where not only New Zealand but Māori – given the huge adverse impacts that will occur – require strong leadership
There have been extraordinary times in our short history – WW1, WW2 and the arrival of the Endeavour in 1769 – that have defined who we are as a nation.
The invasion by Covid-19 that has caused a global catastrophe has arrived on our shores and is now in infiltration mode.
I cannot sit silently and allow the most vulnerable community to be exposed without any plan directed to the undoubted mayhem that will run through our Māori communities.
I am at a loss to understand why the Prime Minister and Minister Peeni Henare will not release Whānau Ora funds so that we can distribute hygiene and sanitation packs together with warm clothing and bedding into our poor communities to at least help them defend themselves.
This is a community and health issue and we will not tolerate standing still and being silent in the knowledge that our community will be hammered by this virus.
For the record Minister Henare holds significant warrants in this government. Jacinda Ardern has made him Minister of Civil Defence, Minister of Māori Health and above all Minister of Whānau Ora – a programme that is hard wired into all of our deprivation communities and can deliver goods and service into our communities and is far more efficient than anything the state has.
Ardern stated at Waitangi in 2018 that she wanted to be held to account for her performance by Māori.
If anyone of our people die from Covid-19, and a prevention strategy could have ensured that would not occur, Ms Ardern and her Māori caucus must be held to account.
“Hold Me to Account” – Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, February 6, 2018
The coronavirus – Covid-19 – has been unleashed on our country by well-off middle class non-Māori who have brought it across our open borders.
This is no different to the arrival of the Endeavour in 1769, with significant and continuing negative outcomes for the indigenous people of this country.
Jacinda Ardern and her government – with 13 Māori MPs – know that firstly Māori have a pre disposition to respiratory illnesses and die in greater numbers every winter by way of influenza related deaths.
Seventy percent of Māori are either on a benefit or can be considered to be the ‘working poor.’ As a consequence, their income is fully expensed on the cost of living. Hygiene products are one of the last items put in the trundler solely because of affordability matters.
Our houses are populated with more people, but more importantly 68% of all Māori live in rentals. A number of those rentals are substandard and they cannot afford to warm those houses given how expensive electricity bills are. Seventy-five percent of all Māori houses are warmed by electricity.
When you join these basic and well known facts, you then come to the conclusion of what is the plan for tens of thousands of Māori this winter, that there is a clear lack of urgency and a clear lack of delivery into those communities.
What Maori Need
- Announce a War Time Footing with all the powers that follow, and to keep us all safe appoint a War Time Cabinet of unification
- Close our borders and set up quarantine stations for all incoming – self-isolation only works for those that can afford to
- Lock down any area of contamination to determine over the following 14 days how strong the contamination rate is within that locality
- Immediately release for delivery the $40 million of Whānau Ora money retained but not deployed to Māori agencies hard wired in their communities to deliver the appropriate packages of care
- Ensure that all other funds voted have a Māori component to ensure visibility of delivery
The Economic Package
The economic package delivered by the Government is essentially a multi-billion dollar corporate/business bailout programme. It merely kicks the can down the road, hoping this matter will blow over by election time.
It is insulting to all Kiwis earning incomes of under $50k a year. Even the $25 a week lift in benefit entitlements is deeply unfair in light of the billions that have been thrown to corporates.
The failure to close our borders and to assert strong containment practice means that this package will not whether the storm.