Henare backs ministry against Tamihere over health data

By Te Ao - Māori News

Associate Health Māori Minister Peeni Henare does not want the Ministry of Health to hand over data to Whānau Ora.

Whānau Ora chief executive John Tamihere has been trying to force the ministry to hand over granular instead of limited data for its vaccination campaign in the North Island. While he won a High Court case last week, the ministry again refused on Friday and Tamihere says he is going back to court this week.

Henare says he isn’t worried that Māori won’t get vaccinated unless the ministry hands over the data.

He says he has travelled the country to see Maōri health providers and iwi use the data Tamihere is looking for to vaccinate Māori.

“Now I’m of the opinion and so are our iwi leaders that simply sharing all of the data across the North Island with the Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency doesn’t get into places where we need it to support the vaccine rollout.

Already doing the mahi

“I saw in Taranaki somebody literally standing there on a street with a map showing everyone who was not vaccinated in Waitara.

“I don’t know how much more granular you can get with your data but Maori health providers are getting on with the mahi.”

The minister was asked, given district health boards and iwi are hiring cold storage containers, how concerned was he that things could get worse?

“That’s why we want whānau to get vaccinated. I was in Whanganui two weeks ago and Ngāti Rangi have already spoken to me about purchasing coldstore containers to look after tūpāpaku should they be needed.

“… we need whanau to actually realise the seriousness of this situation and get vaccinated.

“So these are precautionary steps and I hope we don’t need them but at the moment as long as our people refuse to get vaccinated we might find ourselves there.”

Ignorant or silly

Henare was disappointed by some of the protestors on the so-called “freedom” protests who were carrying taonga. He said there were two types.

“The first are kuare (ignorant). By that I mean there are some people who are misusing or misrepresenting the tino rangatiratanga flag as well as the kawana tapu of the Tiriti o Waitangi (governance of the Treaty of Waitangi) and Whaka Putanga (Declaration of Independence 1835) and then there are others who are just porangi (silly) and trying to hijack those symbols of our people to push their own barrows.

“What I saw was a whole mishmash of kaupapa and I think that was described well by a number of Māori commentators as a ‘soulless campaign or hikoi.’

“What they mean by this is there were Trump flags. There were anti-vax and anti-abortioners. It was a mishmash of kaupapa that clearly lacked leadership and purpose.”