COVID-19: Hone Harawira censures new traffic light framework, calls for alert 'level 5' in Auckland

Former Māori Party MP Hone Harawira is censuring New Zealand's new COVID-19 traffic light system that will shortly replace alert levels, saying it's unsatisfactory.

Harawira says he has serious concerns about the system, calling it "Delta's nightmare dawn for Māori".

"Keep the traffic lights on red, design a level 5 and take Auckland back there, then tighten up the borders," he told Te Ao Māori News

The Government on Friday set a 90 percent COVID-19 vaccination target for each district health board for when the traffic light system would kick in and current restrictions could ease. 

It didn't set a specific target for Māori and Pasifika, instead giving $120 million directly to iwi and community providers to turbocharge the rollout

"Funding Māori providers to accelerate the vaccination rates amongst our communities as well, coupled together with the incentive of vaccine certificates, we are eager and believe we will see those vaccination rates go up," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.

But Harawira told Te Ao Māori News harder action was needed.

"Let's go hard, nail this bitch and plan for a decent Christmas."

On Saturday, University of Auckland Māori Health senior lecturer Rhys Jones also expressed grave concerns about the traffic light system

"I believe it is unethical to significantly ease restrictions any further while vaccine coverage for Māori and Pacific remains dangerously low," Dr Jones said.

"Māori and Pacific populations are at much higher risk of serious outcomes from COVID-19 than other ethnic groups, so it is essential that we get vaccine rates up as high as possible."