Govt granted Mongrel Mob life member Harry Tam essential workers exemption

Author
Jason Walls,
Publish Date
Wed, 6 Oct 2021, 3:47PM
Mongrel Mob member Harry Tam. (Photo / NZ Herald)
Mongrel Mob member Harry Tam. (Photo / NZ Herald)

Govt granted Mongrel Mob life member Harry Tam essential workers exemption

Author
Jason Walls,
Publish Date
Wed, 6 Oct 2021, 3:47PM

Hawke's Bay-based Mongrel Mob life member Harry Tam was granted an essential workers exemption to travel into locked down Auckland.

Newstalk ZB can reveal Tam was given the green light to travel into the city, to encourage gang-linked unvaccinated individuals to get the jab.

It comes after it was this morning revealed that Waikato's Mongrel Mob chapter president Sonny Fatupaito was given the same exemption.

Tam did not respond to questions when approached.

But it's understood he is the second gang boss, including Fatupaito, the Government has allowed entry into the city, with an essential workers exemption.

Tam made headlines in July, after it was revealed the Government funded a meth rehabilitation programme, to the tune of $2.75 million, run by his organisation Hard2Reach.

In a statement, the Ministry of Health said it was important that a wide range of community leaders are engaged to reach communities on a range of Covid-19 issues, including vaccination, testing and reinforcing public health messaging.

"There is a good level of engagement and co-operation between these providers and the communities they are working with.

"Any individuals brought by public health staff to Auckland to assist with the response would have had appropriate exemptions to cross the boundary."

It comes after Covid-19 Minister Chris Hipkins this afternoon finally confirmed there were quite a large number of gang members in this outbreak.

"Look, I have no time for the gangs – I don't have any sympathy for them. But the number one priority here has to be to stop Covid-19."

Hipkins said it was important the Government does "whatever we need to do, within reason" to get a good level of co-operation from the harder to reach community.

He confirmed that just two essential workers' exemption have been given to gang leaders.

"They have been there to ensure there is co-operation with those who are doing the contract tracing, the testing and the other measures that go alongside the public health response."

This morning, after news broke that Fatupaito was given the exemption, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern defended the decision.

"We've got cases in gangs, and that makes this job really hard," she told Radio Hauraki.

Hipkins also defended the decision.

"No one's a fan of gangs, I'm not a fan of gangs, but ultimately needs must in this situation and we need to get Covid under control."

"If we have to bring someone into Auckland to make sure that they co-operate then that's what we have to do."