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Tim Dower: One year on from Ihumātao... what have we learned?

Author
Tim Dower,
Publish Date
Fri, 17 Dec 2021, 8:40am
(Photo / File)
(Photo / File)

Tim Dower: One year on from Ihumātao... what have we learned?

Author
Tim Dower,
Publish Date
Fri, 17 Dec 2021, 8:40am

Had a nice chat with three of the police manning the roadblock at Uretiti this morning. 

One was up from Nelson, another from Wellington and one was from Whangarei. 

Standing in the rain in the middle of the night, but still cheery and positive, even though it's a job no-one really wanted. 

It was nice to meet you guys, as I said to them, they're keeping the peace and that's part of the job. 

If police hadn't gone along with this, we'd have had chaos and confrontation and no one needs that. 

Coincidentally, it's the one-year anniversary of that shonky Ihumātao deal and you might see a connection between the two. 

Ihumātao was a piece of privately-owned land, bought by Fletchers for a housing development. 

Tangata whenua objected, occupied, and eventually got their way, forcing the Government to buy it. 

Taxpayers shelled out $30 million, with the promise there'd be some housing there, but of course a year on, what's happened? 

Not a thing. 

The Housing Minister says there was never any promise it would be a fast process to get houses built on the site. 

The message from the whole Ihumātao debacle was that if you stick to your line for long enough and occupy, illegally, you'll get your way. 

And that message has emboldened those who forced these roadblocks in the North. 

The police didn't want to do it and still don't want to be there. 

But the alternative would have been an illegal, and most likely very ugly obstruction, confrontations, without a doubt. 

So, to keep the peace, the Government bends over. 

And what message does that send?