During the pandemic Pasifika people have had rates of hospital admission for Covid-19 almost five times that of non-Pasifika and non-Māori. Data from the Minister of Covid-19 Response Chris Hipkins has revealed that seven of the 18 people admitted to intensive care for Covid-19 were Māori.
“This is further evidence of what we already know – our communities have poorer health outcomes because of our living conditions, and it’s directly connected to not having access to the resources needed to keep us well” says Auckland Action Against Poverty coordinator Brooke Pao Stanley.
We’ve seen the recent child poverty statistics and only last week we saw this new data revealed about Covid-19. One of the reasons stated for our government’s strict response to Covid-19 was to protect our Pacific and Māori communities because they’re very aware of how vulnerable our health is.
Pasifika and Māori people are routinely denied access to the resources needed to keep themselves and their families healthy. Pasifika have higher rates of preventative illnesses than any other ethnic group in New Zealand, which makes us especially susceptible to Covid-19. The Ministry of Health considering making South Auckland a priority for Covid-19 vaccinations is further proof of this.
The government’s books are $3.1 billion better than expected and so we know they have the capacity to introduce Liveable Incomes. We need to ensure the overall health and well-being of our communities is sustainable with Liveable Incomes.
We called on the Pacific MP’s to join our support for Liveable Incomes last week and only Teanau Tuiono from the Green Party responded to us. I would also like to acknowledge the Māori Party for being the only other party that also supports Liveable Incomes. We want to know why none of the other Pacific politicians have joined us in our call for Liveable Incomes – they are in government to represent the best interests of our communities and poverty and health, especially during these times of Covid-19 should be a priority for them.
We call on them to support Liveable Incomes so Pasifika and Māori people and their whānau have autonomy after the rent and essential bills have been paid, cupboards are full, cars filled, public transport made accessible, healthcare and education are affordable. It’s time for our Pacific politicians to step up and start being the voice we need them to be in Parliament for our Pacific and Māori communities. If they’re not going to speak for us, then we need to consider voting for people who will.