National | Covid Response Strategies

Tamihere hasn’t given up on court action to get Māori data

Whānau Ora Ora chief executive John Tamihere is adamant the Covid-19 legal scrap over Māori vaccination data between Whānau Ora and the Ministry of Health isn’t over

The Ministry of Health has already said no to handing over Māori data to Whānau Ora despite a ruling from the High Court.

Late last week Health director-general Ashley Bloomfield rejected Whānau Ora’s call for detailed health data to search for Māori who have not yet been vaccinated against Covid-19.

In Kaikohe yesterday where he was part of the Whānau Ora team boosting vaccinations in the area, Tamihere said of Bloomfield’s letter: “ We’re five weeks out from Christmas and he knows this and all this batting back and forth tells you who rules the game.”

“So we’re out here on a fishing expedition but that doesn’t stop us.

"It can’t be about privacy because the judge knocked that down. It can’t be about capacity – you can see it here and it can’t be about bullying our people.

“We’re scrambling while others are through the eye of teh needle.”

Tamihere says he will be heading back to the High Court because the ministry will block Whānau Ora from getting data for vaccinating the under 12s and the booster shots.

Tamihere said the fact such a large number of Māori are under 12 means it has to happen.

“We’ve sent a letter to the Ministry of Health and we’ve said we’re willing to work with it on this, but it hasn’t come back to us yet, it’s incredible. In the middle of a pandemic like this we need that data,” he said.