A new Māori Party candidate is accusing the Government of "ethnic cleansing" over its COVID-19 response.
Donna Pokere-Phillips, who's standing in the Hauraki-Waikato electorate seat in the upcoming 2020 election, says New Zealand is witnessing "the greatest peacetime loss of civil liberties in our history at the exclusion of a Māori voice".
She warns the recently-passed COVID-19 Public Health Response Bill gives officials warrantless entry on to premises including marae, as well as the power to detain people, prescribe treatment, and take possession of land and buildings.
"Warrantless entry on to our marae, and the coercive powers officials have to arrest and detain, being able to take possession of the bastion we as Māori hold sacred, our marae, is very disturbing," she says in a statement.
Pokere-Phillips is also concerned at the lack of engagement with Māori during the public health crisis. She says the lower rates of testing for COVID-19 in Māori populations puts them at higher risk of an outbreak.
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