Dame Tariana Turia: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's refusal to intervene at Ihumātao a 'cop-out'

Dame Tariana Turia.
Dame Tariana Turia. Photo credit: Getty

Dame Tariana Turia is calling the Prime Minister's refusal to intervene in a debate over sacred Māori land a "cop-out".

Earlier today, Jacinda Ardern said she was on the side of local iwi in the dispute over the Ihumātao site in Māngere, Auckland. But because the local iwi isn't leading the protest, the Government didn't want to "come in over the top of" them and intervene. 

"That's a cop-out and we're sick of it actually," Turia told Ryan Bridge on Magic Talk.

"People want to get into politics, want to get into power but when it gets hard they don't want to do anything about it because they know that it's the kind of issue that will affect them politically."

Turia said standing aside and failing to act was unacceptable for the Prime Minister.

"[It's] a bit sad Jacinda, the world isn't exactly as how you would like it to be, but I do expect you to be honourable and to give justice to all people in this land."

Passions boiled over today at the protest, with five people arrested in the last 24 hours. And with protesters showing no sign of leaving, police are set to spend the night at the site.

The land at Ihumātao, located between Manukau Harbour and Auckland Airport, has been in dispute ever since a decision by the Government and Auckland Council rezoned it so that a 480-house subdivision could be built there.