NZ First leader Winston Peters has attacked Labour over Ihumātao in a blistering speech, saying he stopped a deal there that would have opened a flood of reopened Treaty claims.
He said only NZ First could “protect” the principal of “one law for all” from “wokeish fellow traveller elites”.
In his speech in Orewa, Mr Peters said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern blindsided him when he was overseas by intervening in Ihumātao. Ardern intervened in July of 2019, saying no new building would happen until a peaceful settlement had been reached.
Mr Peters said this happened without consulting him while he was overseas and it was a “terrible decision” – breaking an agreement the two parties had made to avoid “the sort of politically correct policies that undermined the Helen Clark governments.”
“No consultation was ever done with our party, as by Labour’s agreement with us should’ve happened,” Mr Peters said.
He said NZ First “went to the wall” to stop a deal happening but if Labour were re-elected with the Green Party or by itself a deal would go through.
“We said no to Labour. Not once. Not twice. But three times,” Mr Peters said.
“If Labour governs after the election, by themselves (heaven forbid), or with the Greens (God help us all), then they will do a deal at Ihumātao. Nothing is more certain.”
“If the Crown weakens its resolve after the election you just watch the flood of action on previously settled Treaty claims.”
“So if you want a future free from the past and free of guilt choose the only party that can stop Ihumātao and its domino effect and fallout. If you don’t want a new wave of claims on previously settled Treaty claims it’s in your hands. If you want to live in a country where there is ‘one law for all’ only New Zealand First can protect you.”
Mr Peters said National were “nowhere” in the race and a vote for ACT would be wasted.
He said too many Māori were stuck in the past and the Treaty was too narrow of a device to let New Zealand move forwards as a “cohesive and united people”.
“In 2020 too many Maori, aided by a small minority of wokeish fellow traveller elites, cannot shift their mind-set. They are trapped in the past. They wallow in it.”
“Never-ending self-flagellation about the past by elites in Maoridom and in our universities and cities, not to mention certain political parties, does not serve the national interest.”
the NZ First leader also attacked activist Pania Netwon directly in the speech.
He began his speech by hitting out at the media, claiming he – and his party – had been the victim of lies and misinformation.
“We’re here to put the record straight,” Mr Peters said.