The introduction of a $3,100 fee for returning New Zealanders will disadvantage Māori disproportionately, Phoebe Carr (Ngāti Awa, Ngāi Tūhoe) and Max Harris argue.
The government has once again failed to honour Te Tiriti o Waitangi by rushing through legislation to introduce exorbitant managed isolation fees for returning New Zealanders. This fee will have massive implications on low-income whānau that have to return to their whenua for a short amount of time, and although it will affect Māori, the decision to introduce the fee was not made by Māori, nor in partnership with Māori, nor in any visible consultation with Māori.
In the first reading of the Covid-19 Public Health Response Amendment Bill, Megan Woods said that she understood Māori may be “disproportionately affected by the introduced charges for managed isolation”. She said it was “important that Māori can travel to and from New Zealand for whānau reasons such as tangihanga, and to exercise tino rangatiratanga and kaitiakitanga rights and responsibilities”. She accepted, too, that the charge for managed isolation fees will make this “more difficult” for many individuals and whānau – an important consideration for the Crown’s Treaty of Waitangi obligations.