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Taipa: Risk of law clashing with lore

22 November 2010 Media Statement

Taipa: Risk of law clashing with lore

Prime Minister and Tourism Minister John Key must act decisively over the Taipa land occupation before Northland’s reputation as a safe place to holiday is ruined, says Labour’s Tourism spokesperson Kelvin Davis.

“This is an example of pakeha law clashing head on with a Ngati Kahu version of Maori lore, and neither can occupy the same niche without detriment to one or the other,” Kelvin Davis said. “With protesters re-establishing a presence on land adjacent to that they were forced by police last week to vacate, the law of the land appears usurped by the lore of the north.

“Reports emerging that tourists on buses are receiving uninvited lectures on the Taipa occupation prove that Northland increasingly risks being seen as a third world destination in a first world country,” Kelvin Davis said.

“Other reports --- that Ngati Kahu iwi leaders have encouraged the protest on one hand but engaged in 'good faith' treaty settlement talks on the other hand --- put Ngati Kahu credibility on the line.

“John Key must instruct Treaty Settlements Minister Chris Finlayson to pursue settlement with the four other Muriwhenua iwi and leave Ngati Kahu to pick through the leftover crumbs if they ever decide they want to sit down at the table with the Crown,” Kelvin Davis said.

“While historical Crown processes for acquiring Maori land were dodgy, there is no actual evidence to prove this particular piece of land was acquired by stealth. If the protesters’ argument --- that occupying former ancestral land is legitimate --- is followed to its logical conclusion, it would mean all of New Zealand would be up for grabs, including private dwellings. New Zealand just doesn't want to go there.

“Ngati Kahu would be best served ending the protest and negotiating a durable solution to all grievances,” Kelvin Davis said.

“John Key needs to lead this charge, or fewer tourists will see Northland as a good place to visit. This protest is hurting the wonderful Maori tourism activities that Northland provides.

“It is worrying that progressive Maori ambition may be jeopardized by Maori grievance.”

ENDS

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