Maori Authority calls for Border closure, compassion: Omicron in the community
The Chair of the National Maori Authority, Matthew Tukaki, has said in light of the escape of Omicron into the community it is time to shut the borders to non New Zealand residents and citizens entering into the country for non-essential work in order to keep the country as safe as possible. Tukaki has also said that while some on the festival circuit and event management sectors might want to push back against that call its important that the needs of the many outweigh the need for entertainment:
“while the country has done a remarkable job in getting the vaccination rates up the reality is we are just not there yet where we allow a risky venture to breach our borders. We are seeing record cases of COVID19 in Australia and that is our worse fears being realised whereby pressure is now being put onto the health care system. The same is happening in countries right across Europe with this new variant” Tukaki said
“And amongst that of course I want to ensure the protection of our Maori communities and those most at risk – if that means the entertainment sector relies less on overseas talent then that is a pretty good price to pay for the potential pressure coming down the line of any other cases of Omicron escape into the community.” Tukaki said
“COVID19 from the very beginning escaped into our communities at the border so it’s the border that once more needs to be tightened – if that also means extending the MIQ time of those from high impacted countries such as Australia and Europe then so be it. A little more time for returning citizens in MIQ is also a small price to pay to keep our most vulnerable sae” Tukaki said
“Can I also say to New Zealanders to have compassion for the DJ at the centre of the current potential outbreak. By all accounts he did everything correctly, took all the tests. We need to be vigilant and for those in Auckland can I just say this – do you really need to go clubbing or to house parties this New Years Eve? Stay home just a little longer, a couple of drinks and a barbie in the backyard. Most importantly get tested if you have symptoms”
Tukaki also said that while Maori vaccination rates had really improved off the back of the immense amount of heavy lifting across Maori and non-Maori providers booster shots were the next target along with vaccinations being made available for children under the age of twelve.
“On that front to all our people out there – vaccinations for children are not mandatory. Do your research now, speak to your GP or medical professional – someone you trust. Make an informed decision but also make a decision that keeps your Tamariki and mokopuna safe” Tukaki said