“Mark my words, I’ll ensure that happens” – Bridges vows more Māori voice at Epidemic Response Committee

By Heta Gardiner

The chair of the Epidemic Response Committee and National Party Leader Simon Bridges has vowed to have more Māori present to the Epidemic Response Committee, after coming under fire for the lack of Māori that have fronted the committee since its inception weeks ago.

When asked yesterday about the low number of Māori who have presented on the committee, Bridges was less direct in his response, noting there were a huge number of people that wanted to present, but the limited time didn’t allow for everyone to have that opportunity. He also referred two Māori, FOMA Chairwomen Traci Houpapa and Peter-Lucas Jones, Chairman of Te Whakaruruhau o Ngā Reo Irirangi Māori, who presented to the committee in weeks past.   

But after a backlash overnight on social media as well is media questioning throughout the morning, Bridges was much more committed to having more Māori front for the committee. “Mark my words, I’ll ensure that happens,” said Bridges in his 12:30pm press conference today.

The Kōhanga Reo National Trust sent out a press release last night saying they were disappointed that they were ‘excluded’ from the process, though Simon Bridges did indicate that the Kōhanga Reo didn’t request that they present for the committee.

More on Te Ao, 6:30pm, Māori Television.