Large numbers of police have converged at Ihumātao this morning in what appears to be an attempt to remove SOUL (Save Our Unique Landscape) members and their supporters, who are occupying the land to prevent a Fletcher Building development of 480 homes.
Te Ao reporter Kawe Roes is at the entrance to Ihumātao Quarry Road and reports that around 18 police and a number of police vehicles are blocking people from entering the area. He also reports four trucks are entering carrying fencing.
Te Ao reporter Kereama Wright is inside the Ihumātao settlement and reports that fences are being put up on the land. He reports around 30 police officers and three police wagons on standby.
In a statement to Te Ao, Counties Manukau District Commander, Superintendent Jill Rogers says:
"Police are currently present at Ihumatao to assist with the serving of an eviction notice by a bailiff against a number of people who have been unlawfully occupying the site.
Police staff have been supporting local Kaumatua and Maori Wardens, who were also at Ihumatao this morning encouraging the unlawful occupants to leave the site peacefully.
Upon arrival, two occupants who were inside the site have agreed to leave peacefully.
Police have been aware of the situation at Ihumatao and we have been involved in ongoing negotiations with all parties involved for an extended period of time with the aim of reaching a peaceful mediated outcome.
This has included negotiations with local Iwi and the local Marae, SOUL and Fletcher Living.
One of the core values of Police is ‘Commitment to Maori and the Treaty’. Police are aware of the concerns of all parties involved and we acknowledge the issues raised. We have been working closely with local Iwi to address the cultural factors involved and ensure everyone is treated with the utmost respect.
Police have a duty to uphold the law, however we are continuing to negotiate with the occupants at Ihumatao in order to come to a peaceful resolution.
Police will remain at the site to work with all parties to resolve this matter and will also respond to any incidents that may occur.
No arrests have been made at this stage."