PM on not visiting Ihumātao: 'Crown not a party in negotiations'

8:15 pm on 19 August 2019

The prime minister won't meet with Ihumātao protesters before Thursday - the deadline given by the group to stop them marching to her Auckland electorate office.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaking to media at Parliament 27 May 2019.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas

Protesters occupying the land near Auckland Airport will begin a four-hour hīkoi to Jacinda Ardern's Mt Albert office on Thursday morning to present a petition calling on her to visit and walk on the land they're fighting to keep from a housing development.

The petition has been signed by more than 20,000 people.

But Ms Ardern said her visiting was not the resolution, but didn't ruled out visiting Ihumātao in the future.

"It is not about me," she said.

"Me visiting doesn't get us closer to a resolution, that ultimately needs to come from mana whenua," Ms Ardern said.

"I haven't ruled out visiting in the future but right now I see it as a distraction to finding a resolution."

Ms Ardern and many of her ministers will travel to Tūrangawaewae Marae in Ngāruawāhia in the Waikato region on Tuesday, where she will meet with the Māori King Tūheitia.

While there she expected he would update her on the talks kīngitanga had facilitated between the two opposing groups at Ihumātao.

"Ultimately getting us to a resolution means being at the table with kīngitanga, that's where the resolution will be found,'' she said.

"Kīngitanga rightfully stepped in and offered a process and that's what's happening at the moment ... I think our role has been to support that and enable that.''

"I'm not a party to the negotiations, the Crown is not a party in these negotiations,'' she said.

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