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Case of mistaken identity in poster PR sideshow

Phil Heatley MP for Whangarei

15 October 2004

Case of mistaken identity in poster PR sideshow

Whangarei MP Phil Heatley says a case of mistaken identity in the Northland meningococcal vaccination poster debacle merely escalates the public relations sideshow surrounding the vaccination campaign.

Today there is a new twist in the censorship of the posters, which some claim create barriers for Maori vaccination and are 'culturally unsafe'. The kuia, whose cropped image appears on the Ministry of Health poster, is not Maori she is a Pacific Islander.

Mr Heatley says the public relations sideshow trivialises the vaccination campaign.

"I don't want Northlanders to lose confidence in the vaccination programme because health officials can't get the posters right.

"The Ministry of Health and the Northland DHB should have checked their facts before they wasted time sending and then retracting the posters."

Mr Heatley says Northland had a major meningococcal outbreak just last month.

"We should be focused on getting our kids their vaccinations as soon as possible - not on PC public relations."


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