Jacinda Ardern's inaction over Ihumātao 'a lack of leadership' - Pania Newton

Jacinda Ardern's inaction over Ihumātao shows a lack of leadership, protest leader Pania Newton says.

Hundreds of protesters have descended on the land, in Auckland's Mangere, demanding it be given back to Māori. A small number have been arrested, and the crowd is expected to swell on Friday.

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.

But Jacinda Ardern says there's nothing the Government can do over the issue and it's a private dispute involving the land's owner, Fletcher Building.

Newton told reporters on Friday it's not good enough.

"I take the leadership of Tariana Turia, who came out in the last couple of days and said that Jacinda Ardern's response was a cop-out.

"For me, it shows a lack of leadership, for me, it goes to show the ignorance that the Government has towards the obligations under Te Tiriti o Waitangi and He Whakaputanga and their obligations to uphold their obligations under the United Nations declaration of indigenous rights."

There's no size of the protest letting up either, with Newton saying they will continue to fight to the end.

"It's the biggest Māori land movement for decades, the nation is frustrated, the nation wants to see that this whenua is protected, preserved and Tangata Whenua indigenous rights are upheld."


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