Tariana Turia "Lacks Understanding"

New Zealand AIDS Activist Rebuffs Politico

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New Zealand’s Tariana Turia made waves yesterday when she suggested the government’s racism has hindered HIV prevention among the indigenous Maori population. The New Zealand AIDS Foundation, however, says, Turia and her Maori political party have an “fundamental lack of understanding” of the facts.

Foundation board chair Hoani Jeremy Lambert insists that Turia not only ignored his group’s need-based dispersion of aid, she overlooked the special Maori-centric team.

Says Lambert:

Mrs Turia appears confused about the work of our organization.

We have a focus on HIV prevention that reflects the epidemiology of the virus. Just as smoking cessation programs focus more on Maori women, so does our work focus more upon men who have sex with men [MSM].”

The work of our Hauora Takataapui team appears to have been overlooked by Mrs Turia. On behalf of the Foundation, I would like to recognize the hard work of our talented Maori staff.

Lambert also suggested Turia jumped the gun in her admonishment:

The Foundation is continually looking at HIV epidemiology data to inform its future work. It is important to note that of the 12 new Maori [infection] notifications in the first six months of [2007], we have no further information other than gender. More information will not be available until the end of the year – it is at that point that we look at recent and overall trends to see what adjustments to our program of work need to be made.

Lambert’s obviously not fucking around on this one.