I was very pleased this morning when it was announced that the SOUL (Save our Unique Landscape) campaign was filing a claim with the Waitangi Tribunal to stop the 480 unit housing development in Māngere that is continuing to threaten their whenua.
This is another example in a long line of this Government completely disregarding the interests of mana whenua and hapū in order to ram through unnecessary infrastructure projects.
This whenua is of rich cultural significance and embedded with identity, whakapapa and wairua. The Government, under the Special Housing Area legislation passed in 2013, are attempting build a housing development on this land. The proposed development will run adjacent to wāhi tapu, the Ihumātao Pā, and the Ōtuataua Stonefields Historic Reserve. This land is not needed for our housing needs and is an example of the urban sprawl that shouldn’t be our future.
I am proud to have stood alongside the whānau and the SOUL campaign who are fighting this. I will continue to do so in my role as a Green MP and spokesperson for Māori Development.
It is right that the campaign have lodged a claim with the Tribunal, as this proposed development was only enabled by critical omissions in the 2013 legislation which has meant that the Government can push the development through without proper consultation with mana whenua. It is also raupatu land wrongfully confiscated in 1863.
This goes against its responsibilities and commitments to the articles and principles of Te Tiriti o Watangi.
Under the legislation, housing developments can also be fast tracked without consultation with the public, the full protections of the Resource Management Act, and by overriding local government planning processes.
The Green Party opposed the bill for these very reasons and we stand in solidarity with the SOUL campaign who are fighting to protect their whenua having been locked out of the decision making process.
Mana whenua have done and will continue to do everything they can to have their voice heard.
Nick Smith should demonstrate a real commitment to Te Tiriti and to the community by not pursuing this land when other more appropriate areas are available.
I look forward to the consideration of the Waitangi Tribunal, and the Government doing what is right and stopping this development.