“The Police Minister has today confirmed that Police are not a priority to be vaccinated for COVID-19,” says ACT’s Justice spokesperson Nicole McKee.

“When Poto Williams was asked specifically whether she had lobbied Cabinet to prioritise Police for vaccination she would not directly answer the question.

“Only 38 percent of Police are fully vaccinated and just over half have had the first dose. Either she lobbied and failed, or didn’t lobby at all.

“These are the men and women who put their lives on the line for us, but the Police Minister won’t go into to bat for them. If the Police can’t count on the Minister of Police to stand up for their basic welfare, who can they count on?

“Meanwhile, the Police also confirmed in today’s Justice Select Committee that they are racially discriminating when it comes to the lockdown rules.

“ACT believes all New Zealanders should be treated equally. But Police Commissioner Andrew Coster says the majority of New Zealanders are not able to go fishing under Level 4, but exceptions will be made for Māori who have “customary rights.” Māori are not the only people who hunt and fish.

“Coster couldn’t say what the legal definition of ‘customary’ was. He is a trained lawyer and the Commissioner of Police. If he can’t work out what the law means, what hope do the rest of us have?

“The Police Minister needs to be clear, the law is designed to keep us safe from COVID and will be enforced without fear or favour. COVID is a virus that does not racially discriminate, and the law should not either."