Politics | Fast-track bill

Ngāti Toa hīkoi to Parliament opposing fast-track bill

Ngāti Toa Rangatira has stand against the Fast-Track Approvals Bill.

Ngāti Toa Rangatira has drawn a line and embarked on a peaceful hīkoi to stand against the Fast-Track Approvals Bill.

“Ngāti Toa will not let their whenua, awa and moana be degraded, poisoned and polluted again. Our rangatiratanga over our whenua is undiminished, and as kaitiaki of our whenua we say to the government as our tūpuna said before us – ka aukatingia koutou – this is a line you may not cross.”

—  Te Rūnanga o Toa Rangatira chief executive Helmut Modik
The peaceful hīkoi gathers outside Wellington Railway Station.

The iwi has been joined by other surrounding iwi and other supporters. The hīkoi started at 12.30pm from the Wellington Railway Station and is heading to Parliament where there will be kaikōrero from Ngāti Toa including Taku Parai, Callum Katene and Helmut Modlik.

Today Te Rūnanga o Toa Rangatira said in a statement that the bill was “short-sighted” and urged the government to put mokopuna at the forefront of decision-making.

Ngāti Toa said the bill increased the likelihood of irreversible damage to the taiao, ecosystems and biodiversity and that economic growth needed to be in alignment with environmental conservation.

Te Rūnanga o Toa Rangatira environmental manager Rawiri Faulkner said the bill jeopardised iwi participation in decision making that impacted their land and resources. The lack of engagement disregarded Treaty rights and disregarded the government’s obligations to uphold Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Te Rūnanga o Toa Rangatira called the bill “short-sighted”.

Te Pāti Māori has declared its support of iwi in their stance. Debbie Ngarewa-Packer agreed with Ngāti Toa that the bill attacked the taiao, Te Tiriti o Waitangi and Māori rights to participate.

Nearly 27,000 submissions have been made to Parliament’s environment committee. Many have requested to speak to the committee, which has decided to form two subcommittees with four to five members to ensure they can hear from as many submitters.

Radio Waatea reported more than 3000 community organisations had requested to make oral submissions.

The hearings select committee chairperson David MacLeod said, “We acknowledge that there is huge public interest in this legislation, and we want to hear and understand as many different perspectives as we can, while considering any recommendations for changes to the bill.”

“We have witnessed the degradation that fast-tracked development has had on Te Awarua o Porirua Harbour that was once a food basket for Ngāti Toa. We will not sit by and let this happen again. Ngāti Toa is drawing the line on this kaupapa” Modlik said.