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Ihumātao: its not just one site, its also about Population Planning and Heritage – the Government to

Ihumātao: its not just one site, its also about Population Planning and Heritage – the Government told to get on with it; New Zealand Maori Council

  • The need to do more around planning

  • Is it time for population migration controls?

  • The need to protection the heritage and archeological history for all New Zealanders

The New Zealand Maori Council has said the debacle of the handling of Ihumātao is not just a Maori issue – it’s an issue for all New Zealanders and; has called on a national conversation and response from politicians when it comes to population, heritage and planning. Council’s Executive Director, who led a Maori Council delegation to Ihumātao on the weekend, has said successive Governments, local and national, have completely neglected good planning and policy.

“Here is the truth of it – Ihumātao is just one of a number of sites of archeological and historical significance to all New Zealanders. Are we having a national discussion about what heritage protection actually looks like both pre and post-European settlement? Of course, we aren’t because we have bought into this big push to knock stuff over and stick up buildings driven around the demand bought on by population growth.” Tukaki said

“So let’s make that part relatable by asking the question – if the lease ran out on the Auckland Town Hall would you let a developer knock it over and stick up a casino? Of course not. Then there is the inconsistent approach taken across Local Government authorities who, let’s face it, could not plan themselves out of a box with no sides and just a chalk line. We have inconsistent planning, infrastructure that is clearly under pressure and authorities with no idea what they are doing – therefore, maybe we should strip the power away into a central planning authority and, by the way, maybe we should bring back the Ministry of Works.” Tukaki said

“Then lets really look at the sustainability of a growing population that drives the sort of development we are seeing being proposed for places like Ihumātao. When do we reach that tipping point? When do we say enough to the sort of migration flows we have been seeing in recent years and when is it we shut some of those working visa categories and spend more time trying attract some of the more than half a million kiwis to return home with their skills and cash in hand.” Tukaki said

“That is why we need to look at not just the issue of Ihumātao but we need to look at the heritage listing and protection of sites that are of cultural and historical significance. That’s why we need to look at the mis-mash of planning laws and by-laws that allow this sort of nonsense to occur under the management of Councils with poor track records and that’s why we need to look at the pressure bought on by population growth.” Tukaki said

“So, what does the Governments response need to look like when it comes to places such as Ihumātao? Well it makes commonsense to develop a centralized commission that seeks to both guide us and protect us when it comes to heritage, population and planning. In other words, a much better co-ordination of the work that needs to be done both now and into the future. The second is the production of a list of at-risk sites and potential sites of interest currently in mixed land or private land ownership. The third is for the Government to actually move much faster to re-define the nature of Maori Crown relations and seek to evolve the process to take into account the needs of today – where its not just historical land disputes and ownership but its all very much about kaupapa issues and that of cultural and heritage protection.” Tukaki said

“So, Government – yes you can and should respond, you can and should intervene to create the mechanisms and tools right now so this never happens again.” Tukaki said

The Maori Council will be writing to the Prime Minister to propose a larger response.

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