Ihumātao building development suspended until solution reached - Jacinda Ardern

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced there will be no building activity on the Ihumātao site until a solution is reached. 

On Friday night Ardern said that over the past week "things have escalated" in the dispute over the housing development.

"We have heard the strong voice of young people," she told reporters. 

Hundreds of protesters descended on the land this week, in Auckland's Māngere, demanding it be given back to Māori.

A 480-house development is planned for the area but protesters say the land, which is one of the country's earliest settlements, should be protected.

Ardern previously said there's nothing the Government can do over the issue and it's a private dispute involving the land's owner, Fletcher.

On Friday however the Government met with Auckland Council, Fletcher and activists, she said.

Ardern said they are considering both the views of the young people protesting on the land who feel a strong connection to the land, as well as the mana whenua who want to see their people housed on ancestoral land.

"We see the role we have to play as Government," she said.

Ardern believes they can help find a solution, and while discussions take place there will be no building activity on the land as time is taken to explore options.

She asked protesters to be respectful in the meantime.

Human Rights Commissioners visit site

On Friday afternoon a meeting with mana whenua, government representatives, Fletcher, Auckland Mayor Phil Goff and council representatives was held to discuss possible resolutions. 

The Chief Human Rights Commissioner also visited the protest site.

It followed a powhiri that welcomed members of the Green Party joined the protest. 

The protesters' plea for protection, three days in, was still fuelled by passion.

Families and friends from throughout New Zealand settled in at the cordon for a long fight. 

They remained under the eye of police, after a night of tense frustrations on Thursday - which led to a small group of three men and four women blocking a main road to the airport, by chaining themselves to a van. 

And in a small step towards a kind of resolution - the Auckland Council, who rezoned the land for housing, agreed to hold an urgent meeting.

"If we don't address the core problem at the heart of the issue, we will continue to see these issues with land disputes," Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson said.

Newshub. 

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