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Airport Authorities Amendment Bill - Harawira

Airport Authorities (Sale to the Crown) Amendment Bill

Hone Harawira, Māori Party - Wednesday 22 November 2006

Mr Speaker, in preparing to talk on this Bill, I did a little bit of research, and I came across a letter to the Queen of England, and I want to share parts of it with the House, because they have a genuine impact on the Airport Authorities Amendment Bill that we are considering today.

The letter included the following statements:

I am declaring my Tribe's Independent State in Whaingaroa, Aotearoa, on the 12 February 1996.

The signing will take place on the 63 acres of land which was confiscated for an aerodrome during World War 2.

Our village was demolished and our people made homeless by our forced contribution to the war effort.

The government gave the land to the local County Council after the War, who leased it to a golf club.

Over the years these lands have been taken by unjust laws passed by successive governments.

We were arrested on the 12 February 1978 during a sacred service on the burial grounds of our ancestors. Finally in 1984 some of the land, our original village site, was returned.

I can no longer sit and do nothing. Like my ancestors, I am willing to die for my people's freedom.

It is time that we determine our own future in our own land.

Tuaiwa Hautai Kereopa (known to this House as Eva Rickard)

Mr Speaker, whether it is Whaingaroa, Kaitaia (our airport land was appropriated in 1941), or Paraparaumu, we have been down this road before.

The land taken under the Public Works Act for Paraparaumu airport should have been offered back to the owners, rather than on-sold to developers, just as the land at Whaingaroa should have been offered back to Tainui Awhiro, rather than being given to the local Council for the Raglan Golf Course.

This Bill is different then, because it does at least acknowledge and involve Te Whanau a Te Ngarara, representing the descendants of the former Maori owners of Paraparaumu airport land, as well as other interested parties, all of whom had land taken under the Public Works Act for the Airport.

So we are pleased to support a bill which recognises the need to look to mana whenua when dealing with land surplus to airport needs.

But it is also important to define exactly what an airport is, so that everyone is clear about when land is no longer required for an airport, because at this very moment, it seems Papaparaumu Airport Limited is looking to develop land for purposes which are not airport related, which means that the rights of Te Whanau a te Ngarara and other land owners, are likely to be eroded even further.

Mr Speaker, there are issues still outstanding that we can’t ignore regarding the lack of protection for Māori land interests under the Public Works Act 1981, so it is good to see that this Bill may allow for a review of the sale process back in 1995.

And again, the Maori Party congratulates Te Whanau a te Ngarara for bringing attention to the need to review the Airport’s ownership of the land in question.

• they lodged a claim with the Waitangi Tribunal in 1996;

• they occupied the airport for two weeks in 1999; and

• they have consistently brought this issue before the House.

Indeed, cabinet papers show that government knew of the possibility of a Treaty claim on the Paraparaumu Airport from at least 1991.

Mr Speaker, whether it is 16 or 60 years, tangata whenua should not have to wait for government to develop a clear policy on Treaty implications, for the sale of Crown owned land.

The long-standing injustice created by the original sale of the land into private ownership is, at long last, being aired in Parliament today, but - and it is a big but - the Crown still needs to address the wrongs committed under the Public Works Act.

We urge the select committee to properly review the shameful history of this case; when the National Government shifted the airport land into a Limited Liability Company, and then sold the company and its land, to a private individual.

Finally, the Maori Party acknowledges the support of the Airport Coalition for joining with Te Whanau a te Ngarara, to oppose the crown-sponsored confiscation of their lands.

For in moving forward together to address this injustice, you are beacons to us all – and we will support your efforts to take this Bill forward.

Ends


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