Green MPs attend Ihumātao protest where 'Jacinda = Traitor' sign held up

Green MPs, including Marama Davidson and Golriz Ghahraman, have attended an Ihumātao protest outside Parliament where a sign saying "Jacinda = Traitor" was held up. 

Protesters held signs that read "Jacinda = Traitor", "All Colonisers Are Bastards", and "No Profit from Stolen Land" at the demonstation. 

Marama Davidson, co-leader of the Green Party, stood in the crowd alongside Green MPs Golriz Ghahraman and Gareth Hughes. 

When asked on Tuesday if she supports the sign labelling the Prime Minister a "traitor", Davidson said, "No that is not the peaceful leadership that is coming from the organisers of the Ihumātao occupation."

Ghahraman was asked the same question, and said: "What we do support is the right to protest peacefully which has actually been what's happening at Ihumātao so far."

She added, "I don't know who called her a traitor or why, but what we do know is that the Prime Minister is committed to stopping building on the land until there's been a peaceful resolution."

Earlier on Tuesday, Davidson released a statement in which she promised that "de-escalation is what everybody wants" over Ihumātao.

Green MPs attend Ihumātao protest where 'Jacinda = Traitor' sign held up
Photo credit: Newshub / Zane Small

"In light of increased police presence in the middle of the night as well an influx of extra supporters this morning, the kaitiaki have done incredibly well to keep everybody calm," she said. 

"The mana whenua want to keep their focus on the protecting the land, and are working really hard to maintain a peaceful presence."

Tensions have boiled over Ihumātao since protest organiser Pania Newton claimed she was rammed by police with a gate on Monday night - an allegation police are rejecting. 

Davidson told Newshub she has spoken to Pania, and said the protesters "want to focus on protecting the whenua and do not want to make this about police". 

In her statement she said, "In my view, less police will set up a good ground for good faith discussions to continue."

The Prime Minister has said she has "no intention" of visiting the protest site in Auckland's Mangere, where thousands have flocked to over the last two weeks to protest a planned Fletchers housing development. 

Green MPs Golriz Ghahraman and Gareth Hughes at the protest outside Parliament.
Green MPs Golriz Ghahraman and Gareth Hughes at the protest outside Parliament. Photo credit: Newshub / Zane Small

Protesters and police have been in a standoff since July 23 when occupiers of the land were served an eviction notice. The land is believed to be one of New Zealand's earliest settlements. 

When asked if it would help if the Prime Minister visited the site, Davidson told Newshub: "I'm going to leave that completely up to the Prime Minister."

Green MPs have visited the site, as well as Labour Party ministers Willie Jackson and Peeni Henare, and protesters are continuing to call on the Prime Minister to visit and hear their concerns. 

Last month the Prime Minister met with parties disputing authority over the site, Auckland Council, and Fletchers. She negotiated a temporary halt to construction while a solution was sought.  

Ghahraman said she felt "heartened" that the Prime Minister "said there will not be any building on the land until all parties come to a peaceful resolution". 

Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters has said the Government wants to get to the truth of the matter by speaking to those who had "kept the land warm all these centuries".

The Māori King visited protesters occupying Ihumātao on Saturday and formally invited the mana whenua to a meeting in the hope of reaching a solution.