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Govt Continuing To Target Marae Breaches Te Tiriti O Waitangi

Te Paati Māori Co-leaders Rawiri Waititi and Debbie Ngarewa-Packer are again calling on the Government to remove powers that allow for warrantless searches of marae within the COVID-19 Public Health Response Act 2020 and Water Services Bill.

“It is disgraceful that yesterday the Government continued the COVID-19 Public Health Response Act for another year, without removing powers for officers to enter marae without a warrant,” said Mr Waititi.

“I spoke in the House about how in 2020 when this legislation was first introduced, there was a huge backlash from our people. Labour said they were amending it to remove this provision. However the power to enter marae without warrant still explicitly exists within the law.

“Labour’s Māori caucus needs to show leadership and use their positions to end this legislative attack on our marae – it’s what our people expect,” said Mr Waititi.

“We are also seeing this exact same thing with the Water Services Bill, which also allows for warrantless searches of marae. It is currently before select committee and a huge number of Māori groups have submitted in opposition to this attack on our rights,” said Mrs Ngarewa-Packer.

“That Bill is in response to drinking water quality failures from Crown agencies in a predominantly Pākehā community – it is unacceptable to use that as a premise for regulating private marae and giving the state powers to enter and search without warrant.

“The Government seems determined to give itself new extraordinary legal powers to enter and search marae. Let’s be 100 per cent clear, this is an outrageous breach of Te Tiriti o Waitangi that will never be accepted by tangata whenua,” said Mrs Ngarewa-Packer.

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