Minister of Health Andrew Little has confirmed the release of Māori vaccination data to the Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency has been delayed, despite an agreement involving the Ministry of Health to provide it.
The agency said on Wednesday that claims made by the Little, and the Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield, that it had been given data on unvaccinated Māori were inaccurate.
The Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency is taking legal action against the Ministry for refusing to release details of people who had not been vaccinated against Covid-19. It has asked the Ministry to provide contact details of all unvaccinated Māori in the North Island.
Little said in an interview on Newshub Nation on Saturday that data relating to Māori in Auckland and Waikato had already been released.
"I understand some data has been released in the last couple of days that meets Whānau Ora's needs, there is still some that the Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency says they want more of and there are ongoing discussions to be had," Little said.
But Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency chief executive John Tamihere said that was not true.
In a statement, Little has now confirmed there have been delays in releasing some of the information - saying he is yet to receive an explanation why.
"The Ministry of Health is currently finalising data sharing and security agreements with Māori entities, including iwi, where they have appropriate privacy and security arrangements, but this does take some time to finalise," he said.
"I'm advised the Director-General of Health wrote to the Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency on November 15 confirming that the Ministry would provide individual identifiable Maori health data for the Waikato DHB area and there will be a formal data sharing agreement in accordance with legislation.
"What I do understand is that there's an agreement to release this data but it hasn't been released yet. I am yet to receive an explanation for this delay, and I am concerned about that too and I'll be following that up as soon as possible."
Tamihere said late on Wednesday night he received the data for unvaccinated Māori in Waikato, but he has yet to receive the data for the rest of the North Island.
"We've only got weeks to go before December 15, before the gates drop on our communities and Auckland opens its borders. They've sabotaged us. There's no other explanation, this is a disgrace."
He said the Minister's comments confirm he has been misled by his own officials.
It follows news last week that the agency was planning to take further legal action against the Ministry over its refusal to release data on unvaccinated Māori.
Its lawyers last week filed new papers in the High Court in a bid to force the Ministry to release the information.
The agency previously took legal action against the Ministry for refusing to release details of all Māori in the North Island who had not been vaccinated against Covid-19.
The outcome of a High Court hearing released on 1 November, ruled against the Ministry, asking it to reconsider its decision to withhold the data.
But on 5 November Bloomfield contacted the agency to say the Ministry had reviewed its earlier decision and would not be releasing the information.
Tamihere said it was disappointing and his organisation would now have to go back to court to try to get the Ministry to release it.
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