Housing Minister to meet with Waikato-Tainui

By Ripeka Timutimu

Housing Minister Nick Smith says he will meet with Waikato-Tainui tomorrow over a land stoush that could end up in court.

Waikato-Tainui and Ngāti Whātua have signalled their intention to go to court to clarify the right of the first refusal mechanism in their treaty settlements.

The Prime Minister runs the House of Key and he says the Government is not saying they do not want to work with Ngāti Whātua or Tainui.

However the Minister of Housing seems confused by his directions and is adamant that Ngāti Whātua has no Right of First Refusal.

For the past two weeks, Nick Smith has often seemed under pressure.

His boss John Key says,“He's doing his best but its a very complex matter.”

It's those very complexities around housing plans that will see Ngāti Whātua and Tainui make a stop off in the house of the law.

Nick Smith says, “I'm disappointed in legal action and have a hui with Tuku tommorrow.”

The Māori Party isn't saying much at all.

Minister for Māori Development, Te Ururoa Flavell said in the House today, “I've had a brief word with both ministers, the Housing Minister and the Treaty of Waitangi Minister, that's it. I've also sent a letter to the Prime Minister.”

Peeni Henare the MP for Tāmaki Makaurau says it's Māori who are still left bereft.

“The big question now is, how will the government respond? We are saying that unless all the parties start working together, Māori living in Auckland will never see any benefits.”

Nick Smith has a lot of work ahead of him but must be careful not to shut the door on iwi, leaving them out in the cold.