I have been surprised at just how much correspondence I have had over Ihumātao. People still ask literally every day what happened.
Are they waiting until after the election? Do you they know how explosive it is? And are they trying to stiff us?
The answer we now know for sure is, yes and no. We said months back that Winston Peters was the reason it was held up. We didn't have confirmation, but all logical reasoning had it as the only possible answer.
Remember the stories? The deal was done, Pania Newton of the protest was saying it was sorted, the Maori King came to visit, and there was the flurry of government cars. But then, nothing. Why?
And on Friday in one of his, "let's run it up the flag pole and see how many people we can infuriate” speeches, he confirmed he almost pulled the coalition plug over it.
Here's the important thing, here's the maddening thing about New Zealand First. He's actually right.
For all the drama, noise, headline grabbing bollocks that surrounds him and his party, at least some of the time he actually lives up to, what he allegedly stands for, which is a bit of middle of the road common sense.
Ihumātao is a disaster waiting to happen. The Prime Minister made it the mess it is by injecting herself into it before she left for that trip to Tokelau, remember? She instructed building to stop. How she got away with that, lord knows. Fletcher Building got royally screwed.
She sent a couple of Ministers in, who presumably sorted a deal out and there it has sat, ready to go, with our money, except for Peters standing in the way.
Ihumātao was a done deal before the government ever made a mess of it. The group that protested is part of the group that sold it to Fletchers. That’s all this is, a group who didn’t agree within the group. That, at no point, should ever have been our problem, until Ardern made it so.
Peters point is you do a deal here, every other Treaty claimant will be back for another crack. Full and final will mean nothing. And that is the danger of Ihumātao.
Do a deal, don't like the deal? Do another deal. How long do you reckon that train wreck of an approach lasts and how much do you reckon that costs?
We owe Peters a debt of gratitude. But if Labour will win the election, Ihumātao will be the start of a mess they’ll have lost control of from day one.