We should start a book. Bets on when you reckon the government is finally going to build up the nerve to publicly let us know what they have done with Ihumātao?
We already know, of course, that they’ve cut a deal whereby you and I give the Auckland Council money to buy it off Fletchers. The fact they're using our money to extricate themselves from a problem that's only their problem because the Prime Minister waded into an area she didn’t understand, is of course a scandal.
You remember just before she left for yet another one of her Pacific sojourns, this time to Tokelau, she stopped Fletchers from beginning construction. Rolled out Ministers Jackson and Henare and then naffed off to the islands on a navy ship.
In the ensuing period, a deal was done. But when Winston found out, he pulled the pin.
Pania Newton then said a deal was done. They were meeting that night, announcements would be made within 24 hours. The media bought it hook, line and sinker. Led with it on the telly, only to see no deal, no announcement, no nothing. Until Winston came on this show, post another rumour that it would all be done by Waitangi Day, only to tell us it wouldn’t be done by Waitangi Day.
And he is the only one who's actually told the truth so far.
Pania Newton, meantime, has popped up periodically. She's seemingly not remotely bothered by the fact she's been played like a fiddle and made a fool of, and kept up the rhetoric on why this thing is so important.
Her latest headline is that Heritage NZ has had another look at the land and thinks it’s more important than it was originally. They’ve moved it from Heritage 2 to Heritage 1. They’ve done this by using their hocus pocus approach of thinking of it differently, and taking into account things they didn’t the first time.
Basically, they’ve made it up. It can be whatever they want it to be.
More importantly, legally their decision means nothing, Heritage NZ is like the Privacy Commissioner and Retirement Commissioner and the coroner. They write reports, they might get a headline or a talkback caller but they have no power. Nothing changes.
Which is important to remember, because the Prime Minister tried to spin her way out of this mess on this show. She asked me what I would do now that Heritage had reclassified the land. The answer, of course, is ignore them. But her hope was we'd all be mesmerised by what Heritage NZ has to say.
So here we are, Pania Newton still spruiking her dream. Heritage NZ has filled out a bit more paperwork, and everyone else is stony quiet. Apart from Fletchers, who said they're impatient, and who can blame them? They've been treated abysmally. The longer they stall on this, the worse it is. The worse it is, clearly the longer they stall.