“The challenge is this: in order to cool store the vaccine so that it isn’t compromised, that’s difficult to do in places like Te Kahao and Nhaka so we’re going to have to make sure we have the infrastructure.”
Another $2m will be given to iwi for communications campaigns to help Mori.
A Ministry of Health commissioned-survey found Mori and Pasifika were less confident about the safety and quality of the COVID-19 vaccine than the rest of the population.
Henare has previously told RNZ that up to one in five Mori could be hesitant.
“That’s what we like to call ‘ancedata’ but there’s also a series of information that tells us it’s relatively high and particular amongst our people.”
The survey from September last year found only 31 percent of Mori would definitely take the vaccine, with 23 percent saying they wouldn’t get the jab.
A recent poll commissioned by Horizon Research and The Hui found 12 percent of more than 500 Mori surveyed saying they definitely wouldn’t take the vaccine, with another 11 percent saying they were unlikely to.
Making pathway clear
Recently released data found half of those who’ve ended up in ICU from COVID-19 have been Mori.
Despite this, Mori party co-leader Rawiri Waititi won’t tell tangata whenua they must get the vaccine.
“Because that’s what mana motuhake is all about, mana motuhake is about everybody being able to freely make that choice. We’re not going to make it mandatory and I would be against that,” Waititi said.
“Mine and Deb’s job here in this Parliament is to make sure the pathway is clear for those who choose to take the vaccine.”
Misinformation was a concern for Waititi who implored Mori to get the right information from their GPs.
The Minister of Mori Development, Willie Jackson, also supported Mori having the choice.
“But.. I’ll be encouraging my community very, very strongly to take that vaccine, but our people have a right, no doubt about it.”
‘Unhelpful’ comments
Associate Minister of Health Peeni Henare told Morning Report Mori Party co-leader Rawiri Waititi’s comments were concerning – but he understood his sentiments.
“One of our biggest challenges and obligations is to make sure our whnau are informed. Ultimately, the choice comes down to an individual. I’ve taken a stance that it’s also irresponsible if people don’t consider that information and make the right choice to get vaccinated.”
It was the responsibility of politicians to make sure people got vaccinated, he said.
“I am more than happy to talk with Rawiri about his comments. My stance remains the same, that if we want a return back to a sense of normality, the vaccine is a key part of that.”
He did not buy the argument around self-determination for Mori and deciding to get vaccinated or not.
“Mana motuhake manifests itself in many ways for individual hap and iwi. For my whnau for example, mana motuhake is about protecting our whnau… I think in the main part [Waititi’s] comments are unhelpful.”
In the meantime, the likes of Turuki Health in South Auckland have been gearing up for the rollout, with their staff already trained, having done the job at MIQ facilities.