The head of an Auckland Māori urban authority is calling for $40 million of Whānau Ora funds to be released so hygiene and sanitation packs can be distributed to poor communities.
Te Whānau o Waipareira chief executive John Tamihere said many whānau Māori could not afford to buy those products, which was putting them at further risk of the Covid-19 coronavirus.
"We are desperate to get into this but we need front-end loading," Tamihere said.
"We have to get out of the start of the gate really quick and get hygiene and sanitation products into those houses and communities, and also, we've got to ensure they have warm clothing ... in the event that they do, and will, become ill."
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He said there was significant money in the Whānau Ora budget to provide those products, which the Whānau Ora provider groups could distribute to the families they knew need them most.
The Whānau Ora commissioning agency said it had already placed 30,000 hygiene and sanitation packages to supply a whānau of five for a month.
They were being distributed across all 81 Whānau Ora providers.
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