Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters was interviewed on RNZ’s “Morning Report” on the stand-off at Ihumātao where he argued for the need to respect Māori culture and brushed-off claims that this is the Coalition Government’s “Bastion Point” moment.
When asked about the dispute in claims between Pania Newton and SOUL and the Te Kawerau Iwi Tribal Authority, who both whakapapa to the area, Minister Peters said that the facts needed to be established first and carefully examined.
“We need to look at the facts as fast as we can assemble them, find out where the truth lies, and make up our minds after we do that,” the Acting PM said.
He also pushed for the need to respect Māori customs, especially with regards to property ownership.
“As with any claimed ownership or authority over property, it has to be examined as to its veracity and validity. In the Māori world that will depend if there is a direct connection mandated or mana enhanced by the iwi itself, we need to know that rather than see what I’m seeing which is significant media sensationalism made by outsiders which is not authoritative and don’t help solve this problem.”
When the host compared the Ihumātao stand-off to the protests at Bastion Point or Moutua Gardens of the past, Minister Peters rejected the comparisons.
“I know there are those who state this is similar to the Moutoa Gardens or to Bastion Point, but that is not the case.”
“Moutoa Gardens had always been in the possession of a Maori going back a long, long time. In Bastion Point, there was a clear case of Maori being shifted illegally,” the Minister added.
Asked who the Government will broker with to bring this issue forward, Minister Peters said that Māori culture needs to be respected.
“We will talk to them all, but we are not going to ignore the very reason we are taking this approach. We do respect Maori culture, we are not going to ride roughshod over it.”