There will be dissension if Māori are left out of Auckland's Unitary Plan. That is the response from local iwi to recommendations to the council suggesting the removal of treaty principles, sovereignty rights and recognition or protection for more than 3000 cultural sites from the plan.
Following the release of the Independent Hearings Panel (IHP) recommendations for Auckland's Unitary Plan, questions are being raised over whether unity with Auckland iwi is a priority for the city moving forward.
Ngati Paoa spokesperson Hau Rawiri says, “under these circumstances, how can this be seen as working together?”
Recommendations by the IHP include the removal of a list of Treaty principles, Māori sovereignty rights and the Sites and Places of value to Mana Whenua schedule where 3600 sites would go unrecognised in the city's blueprint.
Te Kawerau a Maki Chairman Te Warena Taua says “they're in for a major fight. If they don't stick to what's right and align with the iwi's wishes, perhaps they are telling us that Māori don't have a say in council decisions. What's the point of Te Waka Anga Mua if they have no authority?”
Rawiri says, “these provisions are important to Auckland iwi. In saying that, we need to come together to fight for the recognition of these clauses.”
The New Zealand Tax Payers Union campaigned against the Sites and Places of value to Mana Whenua section naming it the "Taniwha Tax".
It called it a ridiculous provision based on make-believe issues saying with its death comes a win for democracy and the protection of Auckland's genuine cultural heritage.
The IHP also said Historic Heritage Places provisions should stay but Cultural Assessment Impacts for Māori sites must go.
“Ngāti Paoa says Auckland iwi should have the right to contribute to the foundation and heritage of Auckland so everyone can benefit, no matter what their race or cultural background,” says Rawiri.
The Unitary Plan is due to be in place come September. Auckland Council will announce early next month if it will adopt the recommendations and then Auckland iwi will decide what moves they will make.