National | Dr Rawiri Jansen

Willie Jackson: Could we have done better?

Māori Development Minister Willy Jackson is annoyed at criticism that the government Covid-19 strategy has failed Māori.

He says if that was the case there would already have been 'mass death'.

"Our strategy from the start was to vaccinate the over-65s, those with co-mobidities or health problems, with a bit of a focus on South Auckland too.

"Our strategy succeeded because our kaumātua are  90% vaccinated...and we don't have Māori deaths in double figures."

The minister says resourcing is out there alongside Māori health provider support.

"Could we have done things better? Maybe but first we had to protect our most vulnerable."

But Dr Rawiri McKree Jansen, the co-leader of the national Māori pandemic group Te Rōpū Whakakaupapa Urutā isn't convinced.

He told Stuff lessons have been learned in the past 100 days, but not by the Government.

“One of the things I learned was the assertion that health resources was limited, turns out that’s not true.

“When the majority population needed it, they have had unlimited resources, that’s not true for Māori communities.

“Māori communities are never well protected or well resourced.”

Time and time again the Government has ignored his calls for an equity-based response to the Delta outbreak, says Dr Jansen.

“It didn’t have to be this way,” he says.

“The Government has deliberately heard certain voices in alignment with certain pressures on them to ease restrictions.

“Māori deaths due to Covid are going to become normal, and a lot of the deaths we’re going to see were preventable."