Labour had initially supported a Bill that would release a public reserve in Auckland for housing and would also help settle a Treaty of Waitangi claim. But they are now opposing it, to the disappointment of Auckland.
It makes things awkward for Labour’s Maori MPs – Andrew Little recently claimed “Māori will be better served by a strong Labour Māori voice”.
Phil Twyford on Twitter today:
When Labour supported the enabling legislation at its first reading in December its Tamaki Makaurau MP Peeni Henare said he was “extremely excited” about the opportunity for Ngati Paoa.
And Labour’s Kelston MP Carmel Sepuloni said the party supported the bill because “we will support any piece of legislation that is going to be about building more affordable homes in Auckland”.
“It does not make sense to use prime land for grazing cows when it could be used for affordable housing,” Sepuloni said.
However, in a press release today Twyford said the legislation was a “land grab” that flew in the face of the local community’s wishes.
“The Minister seems to think because some of the land has cows grazing on it, it’s fair game to take it for housing. The community needs this land for future generations. Once it is sold for housing it will be permanently lost to the public.”
Does anyone in Labour communicate?
Labour’s opposition has disappointed Ngati Paoa, who said without the land there would be no Treaty settlement between it and the Crown.
“By opposing the legislation Labour is opposing a Treaty settlement bill – for the first time in the history of the Treaty settlement process,” said Hauauru Rawiri, chief executive of Ngati Paoa Iwi Trust.
“All other iwi in Tamaki Makaurau support this transfer. Opposing the Bill pits the Labour Party against mana whenua of Auckland.”
Rawiri said he urged Labour’s Maori MPs to lobby colleagues on the issue and vote against their party if necessary.
That’s the Labour Maori MPs that Little was talking about in this press release on the Labour Party website:
“If Māori want to see progress on the problems they face in housing, health and education, then they should back their Labour candidate.
“We have a plan to turn the position of Māori around and we’ll be running a campaign to show how Māori will be better served by a strong Labour Māori voice around the Cabinet table.”
Who’s running Labour, Little or Twyford?
Will the Labour Maori MPs back the Auckland Iwi?
Twyford is leading Labour’s election campaign in Auckland. This puts party support at risk in Auckland electorates as well as Maori electorates.