Former parliamentarian and Tai Tokerau Border Control director Hone Harawira is calling on the government to strengthen Northland’s borders as it’s been revealed a COVID-19 positive truck driver has visited the region and that Police are yet to lay charges against two covid-positive women, who breached the cordons North using false documents.
"We need to slam the f****** door on Auckland. Let's focus on us and healing ourselves." Harawira told NZME today.
Last night it was revealed Steve Taylor Tyres in Whangārei was visited on Saturday by an Auckland truck driver who has since tested positive for Covid-19, while last week two women spent four days travelling the region extensively and both ultimately going to ground and refusing to cooperate with contact tracers.
Harawira says the people are not the issue per se, but weak border enforcement and arrangements to service the region are a problem.
"If the doors are slammed shut we could run a really effective and well-supported vaccination programme right across the territory." He said.
Tai Tokerau is plagued by amongst the lowest Māori vaccination rates in the country, with roughly 50% having had their first shot while 30% are fully vaccinated.
Harawira says panic has set in with full understanding of Māori co-morbidities such as heart, respiratory and kidney issues and memories of the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 which saw the Māori death rate roughly eight times that of Non-Māori.
"Māori health providers, everyone, are working their a** off in a panic but it doesn't have to be this way," he said.
The Northland District Health Board are appealing to anyone in Whangārei, Kamo, Onerahi, Paihia or Kawakawa who are exhibiting symptoms to urgently get a test.
Harawira's calls come ahead of National Vaccination Day, this Satuday October 16, where the government is urging as many people as possible to roll up their arms and get immunity before the summer holidays.
The ground efforts will be met by a live ‘Vaxathon’ broadcast on Māori Television where Celebrities, influencers and health professionals will front a broadcast, crossing to vaccination sites across the motu, to capture the atmosphere and experiences of those receiving their first or second vaccine.
Tai Tokerau testing is available 7 days a week at the following locations.
•Whangarei – Rock and Roll car park, Pohe Island (9am–4pm)
•Whangarei - Kamo, 20 Winger Crescent (9am –4pm)
•Dargaville – Dargaville Hospital (9am-4pm)
•Kerikeri – 1 Sammaree Place (9am-4pm)
•Kaitaia – Kaitaia Hospital, 29 Redan Road (9am-4pm)