September 09, 2015
Ngati Kahu protest attention seeking
Te Taitokerau MP Kelvin Davis says the occupation and closure of Kaitaia Airport should not be allowed to detract from the achievement made in reaching a settlement of far north claims.
Parliament is holding an extended session this morning to pass the Te Hiku Claim Settlement Bill covering Ngati Kuri, Ngai Takoto, Te Aupouri and Te Rarawa.
Ngai Takoto’s settlement includes a half share in the airport land, but the Ngati Kahu group with yesterday marched onto the site say it should go to their iwi, which has so far refused to settle.
Mr Davis says it’s attention-seeking.
He says the other iwi feel it’s time to move on.
"We know that we’ve got issues up in the north, social issues, unemployment, housing, and by settling I think these iwi are saying we just want to get on to help resolve those issues without the crown abdicating its responsibilities of course but I think it’s just going to empower iwi and crown to work together to make life better for people up there," Mr Davis says.
He says the protesters are distorting history to make their case for the land.
And Treaty Negotiations Minister Christopher Finlayson says he has no intention of meeting the protesters, because it would be a waste of time under the current leadership.
Police say there are three flights a day to and from Kaitaia and they often carry medical staff and supplies and patients.
Far North Area Commander Inspector Wendy Robilliard says the protest has the potential to threaten the wellbeing of patients and other passengers should an emergency occur during an inbound flight, and police will be monitoring the situation.
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