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Ngāti Toa Rallies Against Fast Track Approvals Bill

Hundreds of people gathered on the forecourt of Parliament and were met by MPs from across the political spectrum. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

Ngāti Toa led a hīkoi from the Wellington train station to Parliament this afternoon to make clear its opposition to the coalition's fast-track bill.

Hundreds of people gathered on the forecourt, met by Crown Ministers Chris Bishop and Tama Potaka, as well as MPs from Labour, the Greens and Te Paati Māori.

The crowd performed the 'Ka Mate' haka and saw government representatives receive a box of submissions in opposition to the fast-track legislation.

Te Rūnanga o Toa Rangatira chief executive Helmut Modlik told MPs his community would organise if fast-track consents compromised the environment.

"Don't leave your home and come to our home and make the mess your predecessors made."

Ngāti Toa would not allow the coalition government to degrade its whenua, moana or awa for the purpose of urban development, he said.

Speaking afterwards, the Minister responsible for RMA reform Chris Bishop said he had heard the challenge.

"We hear the challenge, we hear the call that's been laid down this afternoon. I hear what they're saying and we will continue to meet with them.

"The bill is before the select committee right now and as I've said many times, we're open to constructive, sensible changes to the bill to ameliorate some of the concerns that Ngāti Toa Rangatira and others have."

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Māori-Crown Relations Minister Tama Potaka said he thought the protest was a very respectful, responsible way to engage on the issue.

"There are various ways to engage in the democratic institutions and the democracy we have and I thought that was a very respectful one.

"It also aligns with many historical engagements in the past, whether or not it's the mahi up at Parihaka many, many years ago or other occasions where people have observed the notion of peaceful protests.

"Today was a silent protest with a few comments from Helmut and others and we received them, along with this box."

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