Te Pāti Māori co-leader Rawiri Waititi has likened the Government's new traffic light system to a real life Squid Game which will result in Māori deaths.
New Zealand will move to a new "traffic light" system to manage Covid-19 when District Health Boards have 90 per cent of their eligible population vaccinated.
Squid Game is a South Korean survival drama Netflix series that revolves around a contest in which 456 players, each deeply in debt playing a series of children's games for the chance to win a 45.6 billion Korean won prize, with a deadly penalty if they lose.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Friday morning that when each DHB hit the 90 per cent target, the new traffic light framework would come into effect making use of vaccine certificates.
"The Government is side-stepping their accountability to Tangata Whenua by not setting Māori targets and not producing a Māori strategy. Even worse, they are side-stepping accountability to the six of seven Māori electorates they were elected to represent," Waititi wrote in an Instagram post.
"The Government needs to start taking responsibility for their part to play in our high unvaccinated rates among Māori. Instead, they have begun a below the belt smear campaign aimed at discrediting Māori leadership and blaming Māori."
Waititi said he was mostly disappointed because "our Māori MPs in Labour are now being used to front this smear campaign".
"They talk big in the House about all the money they are throwing at Māori, but it's not going to Maori. They lie. It's going to DHBs to deliver to Māori. DHBs that have been failing our people," Waititi said.
"This morning, Minister Henare announced $120 million for Māori vaccination. We would expect for this money to "side step" the DHBs and go directly to Māori providers, as it occurred in the first drop. Failure for this to occur will really solidify Labour's position as a By Pākeha for Māori political party."
While more than 70 percent of almost all age, ethnic and gender demographics have now had at least one dose of the vaccine, young Māori in the 20-29 age band are the least protected group in the country.
Just a quarter of Māori men that age were fully vaccinated, compared to 73 per cent for Pasifika, 77 per cent for Pākehā, and almost all of the Asian ethnicity in the same age group having had at least a first dose.
"The PM says no one will be left behind. What she means, is no one will be left behind, except for Māori. Let the Squid Games begin," Waititi added.
A $120 million fund to accelerate Māori vaccination rates and support communities to prepare for the implementation of the new Covid-19 Protection Framework has been established by the Government.
The new Māori Communities Covid-19 Fund will directly fund Māori, iwi, community organisations and providers to deliver local vaccination initiatives.
"While more Māori have been vaccinated in recent weeks, Māori are still lagging behind most New Zealanders, particularly in the younger age groups," Associate Minister for Health (Maori Health) Peeni Henare said.
"We need to pull out all the stops to ensure whānau are protected when the new protection framework is put in place."