Iwi leaders will lay their requests and concerns before Prime Minister Chris Hipkins this morning with climate change and co-governance top of the list.
Hipkins is meeting with the Iwi Chairs Forum ahead of Monday’s commemorations, his first visit since taking over from Jacinda Ardern.
“I’m expecting a really good conversation with iwi leaders,” Hipkins told media.
“It’s an opportunity for them to get to know me a little bit and for me to get to know them as well.”
Forum representatives, who spent Thursday meeting among themselves, have flagged climate change as a major focus this year against the backdrop of recent flooding across Auckland. The urupa at Okahu Bay, a significant site for Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, was inundated.
Hipkins said climate change continued to be a core priority for the government, including through its Three Waters programme.
“We’ve got to realise that we’re going to see more of these extreme weather events.
“So things like stormwater, and making sure that we’re getting our infrastructure to the best state possible, that’s actually going to be a part of our climate response too.”
The Three Waters plan is being reviewed by ministers as part of Cabinet’s promised policy reset. Aspects of the reform have attracted significant backlash, in particular its embrace of co-governance.
“When it comes to broader conversations, including around Three Waters, I want to make sure that we’re bringing all New Zealanders with us in that conversation,” Hipkins said.
Iwi leaders are expected to closely examine party lists and to challenge political leaders to keep racism out of this year’s election campaign.
The government is also likely to be challenged by Northern leaders in particular about a recent Waitangi Tribunal report which affirmed that the Crown overstepped its authority to govern for Ngāpuhi. An earlier ruling affirmed that Ngāpuhi never ceded sovereignty when it signed Te Tiriti.
The Tribunal recommended all Crown-owned land in Northland be returned to Te Raki Māori.
National leader Christopher Luxon will also attend Monday’s commemorations and take part in the Parliamentary powhiri on Sunday.
Speaking to RNZ on Thursday, Luxon said National was “incredibly focused” on improving outcomes for both Māori and non-Māori.
“How do we raise incomes for all, how do we restore law and order, and ultimately how do we deliver better education and health?”
Luxon was criticised by some Labour and Green MPs for his comments about co-governance at the recent Ratana festivities.
Story Credit: rnz.co.nz