Brash: Surrendering to protesters should make us all afraid

Surrendering to the demands of noisy protesters should make us all very afraid, Hobson’s Pledge spokesman Don Brash said today.

He was reacting to news today that the Government will buy the land at Ihumatao from Fletcher Building for $29.9 million.

The Crown will hold the land on trust while today’s Kingitanga leads a process “to decide the occupation status of parties who claim a connection to the land”.

Ihumatao has a history. The area was vacated during the inter-tribal Musket Wars in the early 19th century and occupation resumed after 1840 when British settlement made the area safer.

When the tribal rebellions started, residents there in 1863 were given the choice of taking the oath of allegiance to the Crown or go join the anti-government Kingitanga.

The area’s Te Kawerau a Maki iwi had Treaty settlement in 2015 that included financial redress of $6.5 million, most of Riverhead Forest, forest rentals, and more.

Other iwi claiming connection to that land have treaty settlements in progress.

“Stupidly, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern got herself embroiled in the dispute that was essentially between members of different groups claiming connection with that land,” Dr Brash said.

“Today’s purchase of the land by the Government immediately calls into question whether any Treaty settlement with Maori could be regarded as “full and final” if any dissenting minority made enough noise,” he said.

“Most New Zealanders of goodwill have supported the Treaty settlement process, aimed at paying compensation where it could be shown with reasonable certainty that that was appropriate.  But that goodwill will rapidly disappear if more compensation can be demanded by any noisy minority,” Dr Brash said.

“It won’t be long before the noisy protesters at Shelly Bay in Wellington – who are also objecting to a deal which tribal elders did – will be demanding that the Government overturn that deal as well,” he said. 

“This puts all private land at risk. Where will it end?” Dr Brash said.