The Government’s handling of Ihumātao has shown it has no respect for property rights, Leader of the Opposition Simon Bridges says.
“It’s been eight weeks since the Prime Minister told Fletcher Buildings it had to stop developing much needed houses on land that it owns. Since then, Fletchers has not been invited to be part of negotiations. It’s had to sit on the side-line as others have tried to take away its rights.
“It has set an appalling precedent for a Prime Minister to insert herself into the business of a private company and prevent it from building 480 much needed houses.
Does the Prime Minister even have the right to tell a company it can’t go about its lawful business on its own land?
“No wonder business confidence has plummeted when the Prime Minister shows such blatant disregard for businesses and property rights.
“It doesn’t matter where in the world the Prime Minister is, it’s time for her to set the record straight. She needs to tell the protestors to go home, make it clear that the Government won’t be spending taxpayers’ dollars on buying the land and rule out any sort of deal.
“This matter doesn’t concern her. It’s time to butt out and give Fletchers back the land they legally own.”
Jacinda Ardern’s interference has done nothing to solve the problem. It’s made it worse.
If the government gives, or loans, the Iwi anything at all towards purchasing the land, it will open up the opportunity for every other iwi to renegotiate what were supposed to be full and final Treaty settlements.
Worse than that, it has sent a very clear message it doesn’t respect property rights which are a fundamental building block of democracy.
Private property was exempt from treaty settlements for a very good reason. The wrongs treaty settlements were to compensate for were started when Maori property rights were ignored in the past and could not be righted by infringing other people’s, including those of Maori, in the present and future.
Property rights matter for everyone and it is well past the time when the Prime Minister’s interference in Fletchers’ right to exercise theirs must stop.