Yesterday on behalf of the Pacific Leadership Forum I wrote to the Government through Hon. Aupito William Sio Minister of Pacific Peoples in New Zealand to express our deep concern for the Pacific communities across Auckland and wider New Zealand that are not fully engaged and equipped with the understanding of the risks and the prevention of the coronavirus (Covid-19).
This is a great risk not only to the Pacific communities, but also to the wider New Zealand population.
The Pacific Leadership Forum see our Pacific communities as the most highly exposed segment of the New Zealand population due to the communal way we do life and community. But also with many having multiple comorbidity health conditions which will put unnecessary pressure on the health system.
The Pacific Leadership Forum fully supports the announcement by the Prime Minister Rt. Hon Jacinda Ardern that at midnight last night, the highest form of protection at a country level by imposing a mandatory 14-day self-isolation period for any travellers arriving in New Zealand (exception is the Pacific Islands at this point in time) signalling how serious our Nation’s leaders and cabinet are taking the potential spread of coronavirus pandemic across our country.
We also acknowledge the decisive actions by Auckland Council to cancel the Pasefika Festival.
The Pacific Leadership Forum stands ready to work with the Government and its agencies to ensure meaningful, efficient and effective engagement with the Pacific communities to be more informed, more equipped and empowered to act responsibility to protect their families and help prevent the risks and spread of the coronavirus for all New Zealanders by leading a Pacific Coronavirus Readiness Campaign ensuring we reach the Pacific population that are at risk and not being captured by the traditional communications modes of engagement currently being actioned for coronavirus by the Ministry of Health, DHBs, Public Health and Pacific health providers.
The seriousness of the coronavirus health issue to New Zealand and the vulnerability of our Pacific communities requires drastic actions and strong leadership.