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Ed Sheeran

Equity critical to get Covid-19 response right
Photo: Getty Images.

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A Māori social scientist says equity must be built into the response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tahu Kukutai from Waikato University’s National Institute of Demographic and Economic Analysis says there is irrefutable evidence the existing health system delivers poor quality care for Māori and is wracked by institutional racism.

Māori and Pacific people already carry the heaviest burden of deprivation and disease and going on past history, the pandemic will hit marginalised communities hardest.

"Just in the more recent New Zealand Social Survey, 40 per cent of Pacific people and 20 per cent of Māori lived in overcrowded housing so sending generic universal messages around self-isolating and socially distancing, they have to be crafted in a particular way for the realities of a lot of our whānau," she says.

Professor Kukutai says with $500 million on the table for Covid-19 response, Māori leadership and oversight is essential at all levels of the health sector to ensure the resources and funding goes to the right places, such as knowing where to set up community-based assessment centres.

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