Māori Party leaders have announced they won’t be travelling to Waitangi for commemorations of the treaty signing this year.
Co-leaders Debbie Ngarewa-Packer and Rawiri Waititi said they were taking a cautious approach amid the latest community cases of Covid-19.
The party said after taking advice from people in Te Tai Tokerau, it had cancelled its plans.
“We will err on the side of caution and will continue to do so until our people are vaccinated and we can minimise the risk of spreading the virus,” Ngarewa-Packer said.
The party said it would still be present at other commemoration events around the country.
“It’s a real shame that we won’t be travelling to Waitangi this year, but there’s nothing more important than the protection of whakapapa and ensuring we don’t increase the risk of community transmission,” Waititi said.
Waititi said the party supported iwi in taking the lead to protect their people and they would continue to stand by them.
“We acknowledge and support the actions of Tai Tokerau iwi who have re-established community checkpoints to discourage inter-regional travel while there is a risk of community transmission in the North.”
Ngarewa-Packer said Aotearoa was at greater risk than it had ever been of a significant outbreak, and called on the government to reduce the number of people coming through the borders.
We will err on the side of caution and will continue to do so until our people are vaccinated and we can minimise the risk of spreading the virus – there are wonderful commemoration events right around the country that the Māori Party will have a presence at.
— Debbie Ngarewa-Packer MP (@packer_deb) January 28, 2021