Peeni Henare warns Government buying Ihumātao land will 'undermine every Treaty settlement done to date'

Every Treaty settlement ever done could be undermined if the Government buys the land at Ihumātao, claims Labour MP Peeni Henare. 

Save Our Unique Landscape (SOUL) wants the land in south Auckland to be purchased by Auckland Council or the Government for use as public heritage space.

In an interview with Newshub Nation, the Whānau Ora Minister and representative for Tāmaki Makarau warned doing so would set a precedent. 

"If the Government steps in to buy this land back, we undermine every Treaty settlement that's been done to date," said Henare.

"We then allow relitigation of settlements that have been done in the past and are we prepared for that? I'll leave that question there."

But when pressed on whether the Government would allow this to happen, Henare refused to rule it out.

"Look, let's get around the table and talk."

Peeni Henare warns Government buying Ihumātao land will 'undermine every Treaty settlement done to date'
Photo credit: File.

Jacinda Ardern announced on Friday night the 480-home development by Fletcher Residential wouldn't go ahead until a solution had been found, with meetings between all parties to be held over the next two weeks.

Ardern has been the subject of scathing attacks this week for refusing to get involved, but Henare said it was incorrect to claim Friday's announcement was prompted by this. 

He said the announcement was something Ardern had been considering and talking to her ministers about for a while.

Fletcher Residential had struck a deal with local iwi to give back 25 percent of the land and 40 of the 480 homes.

Henare defended Fletcher Residential, saying that it had gone through all the right legal steps but couldn't undo "the original sin of land confiscation in the 1860s".

"It's still a very live issue for the people there today and for land activists right across the country, that's got to be acknowledged." 

He said while he had no control over whether the police will remain on the land, he would be speaking with Police Minister Stuart Nash to "give space to this situation". 

The occupiers will not be asked to leave the land he confirmed. 

Henare and fellow Labour Party minister Willie Jackson are heading to Ihumātao on Saturday to have talks with those occupying the land, which is expected to number in the thousands. 

The land is believed to be the site of one of the first human settlements in New Zealand, and borders the internationally significant Ōtuataua Stonefields Historic Reserve.

Newshub Nation.

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