March 18, 2020
Iwi leaders fear racism undermining Covid response
A south Taranaki iwi leader says officials preparing plans on how to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic need to start talking to Māori.
Debbie Ngarewa Packer from Ngāti Ruanui is working with other leaders including Mike Smith from the Climate Change Iwi Leaders Group on a coordinated response.
She says while the Government’s $12.1 billion stimulus package is welcomed, the mayors, district health boards and Civil Defence officials who are putting together the implementation plans but they don’t seem to want to listen to them.
“We know that there’s this big drop of money. Kei te pai tērā. Now interpret that and tell us at the very very grassroots, whether we’re east coast or west coast, how our whānau are going to receive this and how your services are going to come into our world and how you’re going to roll out a pandemic plan without a single tangata whenua involved in it,” she says.
Debbie Ngarewa Packer says the push back the iwi leaders have been getting shows the depth of institutionalised racism within government agencies.
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