Acting Prime Minister and New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has said he's appalled at how things have played out at Ihumātao. Recently, mana whenua had decided that they want the Government to negotiate with Fletcher Construction to return the land to Māori.
Mr Peters told Mike Hosking on NewstalkZB that a group without any credibility has had a lot of coverage. The Acting PM says any semblance of proper cultural authority went flying out the window with a whole lot of protesters with various grievances.
"I have watched months and months of speculation and I have seen all sorts of comments and people making statements, and I am appalled over it all."
“For a start, any semblance of having regard to the proper cultural authority in this matter went flying out with a whole lot of protests, with a pocket full of grievances,” Mr Peters said.
“And then the media obsession happened, ignorant as they are to the real facts, as though they can stomp all over Māori cultural traditions and history as though those don’t matter a bit”.
“The Treaty of Waitangi process will be interfered with, and every other settlement carefully rationing into a change as well,” he added.
When asked by Mr Hoskings if the Coalition Government should have stepped in on the issue to begin with, the Acting PM defended that sometimes “an government agency may help” before a problem becomes out of hand and potential violence happens.
“But the problem always [with Ihumātao] was, who is speaking here and with what authority? What we had was a group without any authority, even though they were being challenged on television by the kaumatua, getting all this coverage as though they were the mouthpiece and the proper voice for the future of Māoridom,” Mr Peters said.