Press release: National Party

The Prime Minister needs to put a stop to the mess that is Ihumatao and just say no to taxpayers’ money being used to buy back the land, or any other sort of deal being struck, Leader of the Opposition Simon Bridges says.

“This situation wouldn’t be out of control if the Prime Minister hadn’t inserted herself into it in the first place. Now she’s left the country and clearly she and her Ministers aren’t in agreement about what should happen next.

“Ministers have been careful about the language they’ve been using. Winston Peters was vague this morning about whether a deal would cut across other treaty settlements, saying ‘It depends how it’s handled, it depends on where the financial origins that enable the return to happen come from.’

“Clearly the Government is trying to come up with some sort of deal. The reality is, any sort of interference would call into question full and final treaty settlements and they should just butt out.

“Ministers now need to be upfront about who will visit Ihumatao. Will Kelvin Davis and Nanaia Mahuta visit in the coming days?

“New Zealanders will rightly be asking themselves now whether a treaty settlement, legal land buying and court processes can all be undone simply because of a protest and a Prime Minister naively saying she will get involved.

“The Government is in this position because the Prime Minister got herself involved. It’s now time for her to be clear that the Government will back off and not jeopardise all full and final treaty settlements.”