National | Debbie Ngarewa-Packer

Debbie Ngarewa-Packer: Te Tai Hauāuru health providers are being kept in the dark

Māori Party list MP Debbie Ngarewa-Packer, who is based in Te Tai Hauāuru, claims the government and ministry of health are keeping Māori health providers and iwi in the dark by keeping key information under wraps.

“Māori health providers and iwi across Te Tai Hauāuru have informed me that they are being blinded by the ministry of health and government by withholding key information,” said Ngarewa-Packer.

“Our providers are so crucial to the Covid-19 response but are finding it difficult when critical information, like locations of those close contacts and those who have been in places of interest, are being kept under wraps.”

“Right now, our providers are testing whilst blind and that is simply ineffective to support the national response,” said the Māori Party co-leader.

Te Runanga o Ngāti Ruanui Health general manager, Graham Young, says, “We have no insight into the amount of casual or close contacts who are currently in the Taranaki region. To have this information would allow us to be better resourced, move quicker and ensure we are preventing any further spread.”

Whānau Ora commissioning agency regional manager for Te Tai Hauāuru, Hinemoana Durie-Shedlock, says, “There are alliances forming to help vaccinate our people, the more resourcing and intel we get, the more able we are in stopping the spread of Covid-19.”

“Our communities have proven time and time again that when resourced with key, adequate, information and with the required equipment, we have the ability to stand up an effective response,” said Ngarewa-Packer.

“The delta-variant is extremely contagious; we only have to stand in Ōpunake and gaze across the ocean and look at Australia. To get ahead of this little beast, the government needs to equip our providers with real-time information. This allows us to best support their response and to help protect our whakapapa,” she said.

“It is not about naming and shaming; it’s about making sure authorities are giving the communities and providers the chance to establish a response,” said Young of Ngāti Ruanui.

“We must be proactive, Taranaki has only five-ICU beds available with the potential to ramp up to nine – and that is with an absolute challenge,” he said.