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Health Ministry Puts Māori Lives ‘At Risk’

Dictator-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield has again used his extraordinary powers to block the Whānau Ora Commissioniong Agency access to life-saving Māori data – putting poor communities and thousands of Māori at risk.

In addittion, Bloomfield has affirmed that Māori must not be allowed to participate in making a difference. In effect, sentencing Māori to unchartered fishing expeditions as we attempt to reach out to vaccinate our people.

On Monday, Wellington High Court Justice Cheryl Gwyn instructed the Ministry of Health to reconsider its initial refusal to hand over the data of unvaccinated Māori to the Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency (WOCA). That data would be used to locate unvaccinated Māori, and invite them to be vaccinated. The MoH were given 3 days to deliver the data sets.

In a last minute legal manouvere, the Ministry asked WOCA for more time. WOCA agreed to an extra 24 hours.

On Friday, the Ministry said it would not change its decision, forcing us to waste valuable time and resource appealing their decision.

WOCA CEO John Tamihere said he is frustrated with delaying decisions made by unelected and unaccountable MoH bureaucrats holding Māori, the Government and the country to ransom.

“Every day delayed, is a day closer to Māori feeling the full brunt of the Covid-19 pandemic,” Tamihere said. “We must have immediate access to that data so we can give our people an opportunity to be vaccinated and a chance.

“We are now talking about a life and death situation. The life of vaccinated white New Zealanders and the deaths of brown unvaccinated New Zealanders.”

“Arden must now take back control of Government from these unelected bureaucrats.”

Justice Gwyn in her ruling found the Ministry’s reasoning for withholding detailed data lacked rigour. She said the Ministry failed to take into account its obligations for a partnership under the Treaty of Waitangi.

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