July 29, 2019
Crown looking for rules of engagement for Ihumātao
Who to talk to, what to talk about and what to call people.
Those are the questions the Government is wrestling with as it tries to set up talks aimed at resolving the stand off at Ihumātao, where growing numbers of people have gathered to prevent Fletcher Building developing a special housing area on land it owns next to the Ōtuataua Stonefields.
Local MP Peeni Henare and fellow Minister Willie Jackson visited the protesters on Saturday, and yesterday they joined Crown Māori Relations Minister Kelvin Davis at Pūkaki Marae to talk with the Pūkaki and Makaurau Marae communities.
Mr Davis says the intention is to have the conversation with mana whenua, but to have a conversation, it’s up to the people to decide who has the mandate to speak for the mana whenua.
There were also claims that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s description of the Save Our Unique Landscape protesters as rangatahi was derogatory.
"On Saturday Ministers Jackson and Henare were told rangatahi were sort of leading this charge. Yesterday we were told not to use the term rangatahi and again today we started to use the word rangatahi so we are getting mixed messages. It would be really good to know what the messages are and who are the people that should be delivering them and make sure they are representative of mana whenua but we can't tell people who is going to talk for them or what they are going to say," Mr Davis says.
He says it’s essential to define the issues that need to be talked about, because if the conversation is too wide ranging there is unlikely to be any resolution.
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