Te Pāti Māori Co-leaders Call On Parties To Establish Digital Parliament As Delta Spreads To The Regions
Te Pāti Māori Co-Leaders won’t be attending Parliament this week; opting to take their shoes to the streets of their electorates. They are calling on all parties to agree to establish a Digital Parliament as the Delta variant spreads to the regions and risks the health of rural Māori communities.
Parliament restrictions currently allow for only one Te Pāti Māori MP at a time to be in the House. Rawiri and Debbie have opted for a tag in and tag out approach but decided they would remain in their electorates this week.
“Last week the Speaker dismissed our questions in preference of a Government narrative that sought to discredit our Kaumātua. They colluded in the birth of a narrative that seeks to blame Māori for our low rates of vaccination,” said Rawiri Waititi.
“An irrelevant MP made my shoes the topic of debate and then I was likened to a drug dealer by the Speaker on the way out of the House for wearing said shoes.
“If last week is anything to go by, the House at this point is focussed on silencing, stereotyping and vilifying Māori, propping up a Government narrative that has clearly failed Māori. It is a complete waste of our time right now.
“Debbie and I both come from the most isolated parts of the country. We also come from the lowest vaccinated electorates in the country. We aren’t going to leave our people and travel outside of our regions just to be subjected to this level of stupidity,” said Mr Waititi.
“It was my turn to carry the House this week, but to be honest as a newly trained vaccinator in the lowest vaccinated region my place is here at home trying protect our whānau as much I can and as quick we can,” said Debbie Ngarewa-Packer.
“We have made a conscious decision this week to put people before politics and remain in our electorates. We will continue to evaluate this position as the COVID story unfolds.
“We have been advised that Parliament is prepared and ready to roll out digitally. There is no reason, under the current circumstances for us to be wasting resource and putting people at risk. We are calling on parties to agree to establish a Digital Parliament while we try and save our people from this Delta outbreak. Parliament must work for all political parties, big and small, and it is not working for Te Pāti Māori. To keep our people safe we must be in the regions but we also must be able to participate in parliamentary business.
“Over the next two weeks, Rawiri will be visiting the lowest vaccinated areas in the Waiariki, talking with communities and hearing their stories. I will be on the ground in my community, going door to door, talking to and vaccinating our people.
“For those who don’t want to be vaccinated, we will be talking with them about how to keep themselves and their whānau safe. We are taking our shoes to the streets where it matters most,” said Mrs Ngarewa-Packer.