The ministry of health has ignored a High Court ruling to hand over data of unvaccinated Māori to the Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency (WOCA).
It has infuriated CEO John Tamihere who says the decision is ‘putting poor communities and thousands of Māori at risk.’
On Monday, Wellington High Court Justice Cheryl Gwyn gave the ministry three days to transfer data of unvaccinated Māori to WOCA, in accordance with Treaty of Waitangi principles.
But in a letter delivered late Friday evening from Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield, the ministry has again rejected the request.
"We have concluded that it would not be appropriate to adopt a blanket approach to the sharing of Māori health information you have requested," Bloomfield wrote.
He has instead invited Whānau Ora to work with the ministry.
"The ministry has recommended and I have agreed to invite the commissioning agency to work in partnership with the ministry, relevant iwi, and local service delivery providers to identify those rohe where vaccination outreach to Māori is most needed, and to identify the necessary and appropriate scope of data sharing in each case," he said.
Tamihere says Bloomfield’s decision virtually ignores the court ruling and he is calling on the government to urgently intervene.
"We are now talking about a life and death situation. The life of vaccinated white New Zealanders and the deaths of brown unvaccinated New Zealanders," Tamihere said.
"Ardern must now take back control of Government from these unelected bureaucrats."
Whānau Ora wanted anonymised mapping-level data to locate unvaccinated Māori. Tamihere says its programme is now under threat.
"Dictator-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield has again used his extraordinary powers to block Whānau Ora access to life-saving Māori data… Every day delayed, is a day closer to Māori feeling the full brunt of the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.