Covid-19: Northland iwi leader says new travel rules will create ‘hell summer’

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Hone Harawira criticized the government’s plan to allow Auckland residents to travel from December 15, saying it would create a “hellish summer” for the residents of Tai Tokerau.

Former MP and chief executive of the Northland Iwi-led checkpoint group Tai Tokerau Border Control said the decision would have “devastating consequences” for the people of Tai Tokerau.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Wednesday that the country will switch to the traffic light system towards the end of November.

Former Tai Tokerau MP and border control chief Hone Harawira said the decision to leave Covid-19 out of Auckland would be devastating for Tai Tokerau.

Denise Piper / Stuff

Former Tai Tokerau MP and border control chief Hone Harawira said the decision to leave Covid-19 out of Auckland would be devastating for Tai Tokerau.

From December 15 to January 17 – the peak summer vacation period – Aucklanders will be able to leave the city if they have been fully vaccinated or tested negative for Covid-19.

READ MORE:
* The government will open the Auckland border on December 15, allowing travel for Christmas
* Covid-19: Will Aucklanders be welcomed with open arms when he can travel?
* Covid-19: Calls on Northland to return to lockdown after seven cases of Covid

But Harawira said letting people travel outside of Auckland would allow Covid to get out of the city, hitting communities in Northland, especially Maori in the north, he said.

“The Tai Tokerau Māori live in some of New Zealand’s most under-invested and poor communities,” he said.

These communities struggled with housing poverty, unemployment, drug and alcohol abuse, violence and suicide, many of which increased with Covid-19, Harawira said.

“Lack of access to resources and an inequitable healthcare system mean Maori suffer disproportionately from a weakened immune system, liver disease, cancer, kidney disease, heart disease and diabetes – medical conditions which are natural breeding grounds for Covid-19 and its descendant, Delta, ”he said.

Northland District Police District Commander's Acting Inspector Riki Whiu and Hone Harawira agreed to work on the checkpoints together, but Harawira said the spot checks would not work.  (File photo)

Denise Piper / Stuff

Northland District Police District Commander’s Acting Inspector Riki Whiu and Hone Harawira agreed to work on the checkpoints together, but Harawira said the spot checks would not work. (File photo)

“Covid cases are increasing daily and the government’s refusal to allow Maori healthcare providers access to critical medical data means whānau, hapū and iwi face a hellish summer as frustrated Aucklanders walk through Tai Tokerau . “

Ardern said police would use their discretion to monitor Auckland’s limits, including spot checks to make sure people were following the rules, and a $ 1,000 fine if they didn’t.

Police worked with iwi on the northern border to make sure people were safe, she said.

But Harawira said police spot checks “were not worth considering.”

“Spot checks have been a failure in the past and they will be a failure here as well. “

Harawira said Tai Tokerau border control would work with local authorities, health officials, police and iwi to try to protect the community.

“[We will] to try to limit the damage that the open roads will cause to communities totally unprepared for the influx of liberated visitors to the north.

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