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Ed Sheeran

COVID response shapes Maori Party campaign
Photo: Debbie Ngarewa-Packer.

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Māori Party co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer says it’s essential Māori are not worse off after COVID-19 than they were before.

The party launched its election campaign at Hoani Waititi Marae in West Auckland, on Saturday, drawing about 200 people to hear its seven candidates lay out their pitches.

It unveiled its Whānau First policy, a call for 25 per cent of COVID recovery funds to go to Māori, through the use of a Māori workforce or by using the services of Māori owned businesses and organisations.

Ms Ngarewa-Packer says from being on various pandemic response committees as a representative of the Iwi Chairs Forum, she saw the need for a targeted Māori response.

"When we did the COVID response there was nothing for Māori, there were no pandemic Māori strategies from across every agency that needs to be serving us so what we did realise is there was no connect and we needed to immediately gain momentum and leverage from those COVID response efforts that iwi had set up," she says.

Ms Ngarewa-Packer says COVID-19 has highlighted the need for a structured affirmative action plan rather than rely on goodwill and good intentions.

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