Ihumātao kaitiaki disappointed they weren't at the table with Govt.

By Taroi Black

Labour MP's Peeni Henare and Willie Jackson want transparency in the outcome of discussions around the disputed future of Ihumātao.

This follows Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's decision to halt the proposed housing developments by Fletcher Residential until all parties involved have reached a solution.

Government ministers Peeni Henare and Willie Jackson arrived at the Ihumātao site on Saturday to listen to all the parties involved.

Earlier this week, senior members of the Labour Māori caucus were reluctant to intervene in the land dispute, saying it was a matter between the iwi.

Tāmaki Makaurau Labour MP Peeni Henare says, “Our role here is simply as the Prime Minister has said, is to bring these people all together, as many stakeholders as we can to come together to talk this through. Fletchers and their dealings, I can't speak for them.”

The Government called a last-minute meeting with local iwi, Fletchers and the Auckland Council on Friday night. Fletcher Residential say they are open to discussions moving forward and believe they have followed due process.

“We had a conversation with iwi, we had a conversation with Mana Whenua, so Te Akitai, Te Kawerau a Maki, as well as Kiingitanga were all represented. We think that's the right form of dialogue to have, we've always been clear on that," says Fletcher Building Residential and Land Development CE Steve Evans.

Fletcher Residential say they've carried out past discussions with Te Kawerau a Maki, leading to a deal under which the iwi will receive 25% of the land and 40 of the 480 proposed homes.

“The Crown for a long time have already been engaged with what we thought was Mana Whenua and that is evident in this settlement that was reached with not only Te Kawerau a Maki but with those that have settled right across this country,” Mr Henare said.

However, Ihumātao locals believe they should have been included in the recent meeting, and should be included in the consultation process going forward.

SOUL spokesperson Pania Newton says, “So [Prime Minister] Jacinda and others met with a number of individuals from different iwi groups. We were very disappointed to hear that they had a hui for one, and two we were not invited to that hui. So, Ministers have come today to ask us to enter into some form of process whereby we can look at options to find a resolution for this whenua.”

However, Labour MP Willie Jackson told Te Ao Māori News they are already talking to mana whenua. “There have been challenges to mandate around mana whenua over the last few weeks. We were engaging with people who signed the settlement.”

Māori MPs, locals and SOUL will continue to meet over the next two weeks.