Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency CEO John Tamihere says the Ministry of Health has thrown him a legal underarm.

He said after days of negotiations with the MoH over Māori data that would be released by consent, the rug was literally pulled from under us.

On Friday 8 October, 2021, WOCA filed urgent legal proceedings against the MoH and an urgent hearing was granted.

But on Monday – four days before the 22 October court date set under urgency – the MoH approached WOCA, with a proposal.

Tamihere said believing the MoH was being up front and honest to find a solution, he agreed to forgo Friday’s hearing in the Wellington High Court.

But the final data set proposed by the MoH was a smoke screen, Tamihere said.

“We were given an undertaking that this matter would be sorted amicably without having to prosecute the matter in court,” Tamihere said.

“We took that approach from the MoH in good faith and consented to delaying our urgency claim.

“It was a delaying tactic to give them more time to build their case. We were played.”

The case will now be heard in Wellington on Tuesday, 26 October 2021.

Tamihere said the dirty delaying tactics by the MoH was frustrating, as they were deliberate.

“All we have ever wanted, as with our February proposal to Ministers, is the opportunity to give our Whānau Māori an even chance against Covid,” Tamihere said.

“We are not in a competition with the MoH. Whānau Ora has already delivered 500, 000 vaccinations.

“The longer the MoH delay, the harder our job is to locate and vaccinate Māori.”

For more information contact Joseph Los’e on 0280007546 or email Joseph.lose@waiwhanau.com