PM happy to call it Aotearoa; government not pursuing it though

By Marena Mane

Although Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern thinks that using Aotearoa should be promoted, she does not believe that changing New Zealand's legal name to Aotearoa is something the government should be pursuing at this time.

“I encourage the use of Aotearoa. In fact, people are picking it up even without encouragement.”

Border  jumpers

Ardern says she can't interfere with the police's work because the matter of the Auckland couple who crossed the Auckland border with essential worker passes and then flew from Hamilton to Wanaka is underway but she applauds and respects the hard work Tāmaki Makaurau is presently performing despite individuals breaching the laws.

“To respect the job that you're doing everyone does need to follow the rules and I know that no one would have probably been angrier than the people in Tāmaki Makaurau right now.”

Vaccinations

Instead of focusing on goal vaccination rates, Ardern claims that the experts want everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated. However, she says New Zealand's vaccination rates have surpassed those of other countries such as the United States.

“Do it to protect tamariki. Tamariki can't be vaccinated yet. So, if you get vaccinated, you can help protect children.”

No jab, no job 

Other countries have implemented the "No jab, no job" policy, but Ardern says that while this isn't something the government is looking into, it might be for companies based on the employment position.

“There are lots of reasons why vaccinations are important and I think increasingly if anyone wants to go and visit whānau abroad, I wouldn't be surprised if other countries start saying a vaccination is required and I would put Australia as a likely candidate on that list.”

Mobile vaccine buses 

The government will begin rolling out mobile vaccine buses in Tāmaki Makaurau tomorrow, according to Ardern, to address transportation problems that people may have in getting to vaccine locations.

“We’ll be going into local communities just making it as easy as possible. So keep an eye out for the Jab-a-waka somewhere near you.” 

Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori

Ardern says she was in a Covid briefing with Ministers Kiritapu Allen and Peeni Henare yesterday during the Māori language moment and that they used the Māori language interchangeably as if it were the norm. She also wishes to see Te Reo Māori being used in regular conversations and meetings.

“I would love for the generations to come, to grow up with that, and that to support their language skills as well.”