October 22, 2021
Covid fund to help Māori keep up with traffic light freedoms
The Government has established a $120 million fund to accelerate Māori vaccination rates and support communities to prepare for the implementation of the new COVID-19 traffic light protection framework.
Associate Health Minister Peeni Henare says while more Māori have been vaccinated in recent weeks, Māori are still lagging behind most other New Zealanders, particularly in the younger age groups.
The Māori Communities COVID-19 Fund includes $60 million for Māori, Iwi, community organisations and providers to deliver local vaccination initiatives for whānau, and other $60 million to support Māori and iwi-led initiatives to protect communities against COVID-19.
Mr Henare says iwi and Maori organisations are best placed to reach Māori not yet vaccinated including rangatahi, whānau without permanent housing, whānau in rural and remote locations, and whānau not well connected to health services.
He says the recent lift in vaccination rates is the direct result of Māori leadership efforts at a regional and national level and the funding will allow Māori providers to continue incentives such as hāngi and vouchers, walk-in clinics and vax buses, door-to-door sweeps and vaccinations on sports fields and at kura.
The new traffic light Covid-19 protection framework will come into effect once 90 percent of people across each DHB region are fully vaccinated.
Auckland, which is nearing that target, will be allowed to go first, but a hard border will remain with the rest of the country.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the new traffic light framework will allow businesses previously considered high-risk to fully open to vaccinated customers at green and orange and continue to operate with some restrictions at red.
Businesses that choose to open to the unvaccinated will face restrictions.
She says fully vaccinated people will be able to reconnect with family and friends and go to bars and restaurants.
Localised lockdowns will still be an option if there is rapid growth in cases in areas with high levels of unvaccinated people.