Shane Reti calls David Seymour sharing Māori access codes 'disgusting'

By Whatitiri Te Wake

National deputy leader and health spokesperson Dr Shane Reti today described Act Party leader David Seymour's action of sharing vaccination access codes intended to help increase Māori vaccination rates as "disgraceful".

“It's enough to hold that view and stand by that view but to actually take an action that brakes an initiative is disgraceful and they need to answer to that,” Reti said.

Meanwhile, yesterday, National leader Judith Collins distanced herself from the controversy, saying "he has to answer himself. It's something we don't want to engage in."

Te Ao Māori News has made several attempts to contact David Seymour for comment to no avail.

On Monday, Act leader David Seymour took to Twitter to share an email message from Te Whānau o Waipareira advising Māori of an access code that would minimise wait times and other barriers to Māori getting tested for Covid-19 and in a bid to lift these numbers.

Te Whānau o Waipareira has just lost one of its kuia, the first Delta death in New Zealand and chief executive John Tamihere has called out Seymour, saying he has practised the "worst form of politics".

“Seymour demonstrates his entitlement, his privilege and his disdain for vulnerable New Zealand communities."

As of Monday, Te Whānau o Waipareira had completed 62,509 vaccinations. 54,000 being Pākehā and Asian. They were now pivoting to the less than 3% of Māori in their area to be vaccinated

 “Today he demonstrated he will use us as a brown political football to kick around and drive hate,” Tamihere said.

Seymour stuck to his guns and defended his actions, saying the government needed to be called out for its policies which he described as "divisive".

'Race rather than need'

"Act's contention is that for the government to start categorising based on race rather than need is an enormous mistake it is divisive. It infantilises some New Zealanders and infuriates the rest."

Maori Party co-leader Debbie Ngārewa Packer has slammed Seymour’s actions but is urging Māori to be vaccinated as a way to beat racists.

“We have seen him do some lows but this is the dirtiest of his lows because the effect of what he said could impact tragically on the decision on our whānau who decide to go or not.”

Greens co-leader Mārama Davidson described David Seymour's actions as “absolutely disgusting and dangerous.”

Tamihere said Seymour giving out the code could have huge implications for Māori.

He said Seymour was not only causing hate but also ran the possibility of Delta exploding in under-vaccinated Māori communities that might result in more deaths.