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Ed Sheeran

Maori feel wrong signals sent on COVID response
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A Māori academic studying the COVID pandemic says the current community outbreak shows the Government sent the wrong signal by going to Waitangi against the advice of iwi leaders.

At 4.30 this afternoon Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Health Director-General Ashley Bloomfield will announce whether the current alert levels will be lifted or extended, depending on whether there has been any transmission from the three South Auckland family members who have the more infectious UK strain of the virus.

Rawiri Taonui says it’s fortunate the mother and daughter chose Taranaki for their Waitangi weekend break rather than Waitangi itself, where they could have turned the dawn service and breakfast into a super spreader event if they had attended.

"We've dodged something here at the moment touch wood. There might still be more cases, but really Māori communities are being left to their own devices to sort out things because the government doesn't know how to prioritise Māori sufficiently," he says.

Dr Taonui says the pandemic response is being shaped by Pakeha politicians who are paranoid about initiatives that are seen to support Maori or Pasifika communities who have unique vulnerabilities.

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