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Two rules exercised in hongi ban

Tau Henare MP
National Party Associate Maori Affairs Spokesman

07 December 2005

Two rules exercised in hongi ban

National Party Associate Maori Affairs spokesman Tau Henare believes health officials aren’t being even handed with their consideration of a hongi ban during a bird flu pandemic.

“Everyone understands that at large gatherings there is the potential for the disease to spread, but surely such precautions shouldn’t focus solely on hongi.

“If they are going to be fair, will they be telling husbands they can’t kiss their wives or cuddle their kids?

“In reality, a hongi is far less dangerous than a kiss. And what about shaking hands? Isn't that risky too? Why wasn't that mentioned?

Mr Henare is commenting on reports today which suggest a ban on hongi is among the safety measures being considered as part of the response to the bird flu pandemic.

“I don’t think they’ve thought the hongi ban through. They now run the risk of damaging other aspects of the health campaign which will require Maori co-operation.

“All I’m saying is these guys need to think a bit harder before opening their mouths,” says Mr Henare.

ENDS

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