Ministerial Covid Statement Must Be Challenged

“Covid Response Minister Chris Hipkins has said today that vaccination “efforts to reach Māori early were undermined” – he is right, but he didn’t admit by who,” says Winston Peters Leader of New Zealand First.

“The facts are very clear. The government was warned at the very start that the most vulnerable to Covid would be over 65’s, Māori and Pacifica.”

“Māori and Pacifica specifically highlighted by the massively disproportionate deaths from the Spanish Flu a century ago when Māori deaths were over 8 times that of Europeans.”

“When Pfizer wrote to the Government in June last year that correspondence was never shared and sat unattended for 6 weeks. Pfizer’s offer to provide the vaccine by December 2020 was never taken up.”

“When it was finally actioned the government seriously under-ordered stating at the time that ‘we should not be at the front of the queue.’”

“That virtue signalling has come at a huge cost to the New Zealand economy.”

“When the rollout began the over 65’s and frontline workers were rightly prioritised but why did Māori and Pacifica simply get dropped from that list?"

“It is highlighted when advisory groups and doctors such as Rawiri Janssen were so frustrated by the government’s neglect they walked out in April this year claiming the government was simply not listening.”

“Now the government is pointing the finger at everyone but itself - just hours after a Māori Health Authority obtained a court ruling to gain information critical for their vaccine rollout contribution.”

“It is clear that had the government acted on the advice it was given, and not preferred their own inhouse wisdom, then we would have been well above 90% rollout before the Delta variant was belatedly realised on the 17th of August.”

“The MIQ and ICU numbers are very low because the vaccinated contracting Covid have minimal symptoms as the vaccine works. It’s also clear that the MIQ system is simply obsolete and having a devastating effect on thousands of kiwis stranded offshore.”

“Basic human rights and freedoms are now simply being trampled on,” says Mr Peters.

“Meanwhile businesses are going bust, and jobs are being lost, all because the government went from being a world leader in 2020 to a world follower in 2021.”