Iwi leaders say no to proposed 'traffic lights' Covid system

By Te Ao - Māori News

Iwi leaders in Northland are unhappy about the region returning to alert level 2 today, saying it is too soon.

Only 35 per cent of Māori in Northland are vaccinated. For that reason, the Iwi Chairs Pandemic Response group disagreed with the government's decision to relax restrictions to allow Māori leaders to encourage Māori to get vaccinated and save Māori lives.

"We came to a consensus that we strongly oppose any lifting of restrictions until Maori reach a 95% vaccination rate," group chair Mike Smith says. 

Northland went into a snap lockdown level 3 nearly two weeks ago after the discovery that the Delta outbreak had breached Auckland's border.

Smith says they're also rejecting the new traffic light system to be announced by the government, on the basis that it is unfair to Māori.

"We are clearly taking the government on when we think they are wrong. But, more than that, we're saying that what we need right now is not traffic lights."

Smith says the iwi chair pandemic response group is working on a plan that will see its communities through to Christmas and beyond.