Govt plan risks vulnerable communities

The Green Party says the Government’s planned roadmap for Auckland risks the safety of vulnerable communities and children.

“Elimination has protected thousands of lives in Aotearoa. We have to stay the course to keep everyone safe. Now is not the right time to change our approach, particularly when so many of our vulnerable communities are still at risk,” says Green Co-leader Marama Davidson.

“We need a clear coordinated approach which prioritises our most vulnerable right now. We have seen the tragic consequences overseas when restrictions are eased too early.

“The current Delta outbreak in Tāmaki Makaurau is showing a long tail of cases – but elimination is still possible if we work together to stop the spread. Our public health system has held up so far, but we worry that easing restrictions too early could overwhelm the hard-working nurses, doctors and all health system workers who we rely on to keep us safe.

“The Government’s planned roadmap out of COVID-19 has serious risks for our vulnerable communities – including Māori and Pasifika, as well as people with underlying health conditions – who have disproportionately been impacted by lockdowns. The Government must focus all its resources on these vulnerable communities to ensure high vaccination rates.

“Local hapū and community groups have been doing a fantastic job of encouraging their whānau to get tested and vaccinated. The Government must direct as much resource as possible to these groups to empower them to continue the important mahi of protecting our whānau.

“We must continue on our elimination path until vaccines are approved for and rolled out to under-12s, and high coverage is achieved for all age groups, geographic areas, and population groups. This includes ensuring that Māori vaccine rates are high enough to protect whānau Māori.

“A coordinated, fair and equitable vaccine rollout is critical to ensure we are able to safely get back to the things we love doing.

“When people feel properly supported, they are able to stay at home and play their part in helping us eliminate COVID-19 from our communities. The best way to keep people safe is to stick to elimination and make sure everyone has access to what they need to stay well, including affordable housing, food security, income for essential needs, and healthcare.

“The Government also needs to provide clear guidelines on what the roadmap means for immunocompromised communities so they are not forced into risking their health.”

ENDS

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