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Ihumātao: United Nations human rights body raises 'concerns' over Government approach, Māori consultation

Author: Michael Neilson, New Zealand Herald, Published on: 17 August 2019

31 July 2019

The United Nations human rights body has called for answers over the Government's approach at Ihumātao, citing concerns over consultation with Māori.

The dispute over the housing development planned on the 33ha site in Māngere, South Auckland, has erupted since those occupying the land - regarded as sacred to mana whenua - were served eviction notices....

report published by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights...questioned how the development would ensure Māori culture and heritage would be protected under the development, and how the houses would benefit Māori.

It listed concerns about Māori representation in designating the site a Special Housing Area in 2014, and the fast-track nature that did not allow for adequate consultations with Māori.

[...]

New Zealand Human Rights Commission chief commissioner Paul Hunt said they welcomed the report, which highlighted human rights were at stake.

"It is positive the Special Rapporteurs have asked the Government to provide assurance that the proposed development will not undermine the cultural heritage and the rights of Māori."

The commission supported the call by the Government to stop all work at Ihumātao.

"Ensuring that this halt continues at least until Special Rapporteurs have considered the Government's response, would demonstrate a commitment to the resolution process and limit any potential human rights breaches in the meantime."

Hunt said any solution developed needed to take a human rights approach that was participatory, inclusive, transparent, and enabled all those affected to have a meaningful say.

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