Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has met with Kiingi Tuheitia, days out from a national hui over the coalition Government’s plans for Māori.
It’s expected iwi from around New Zealand will head to Tūrangawaewae Marae in Ngāruawāhia this Saturday in a bid to thrash out a unified response to the Government’s policies.
The hui was called by Kiingi Tuheitia last month.
MPs from Labour, the Greens and Te Pati Māori have reportedly confirmed they will attend, but it’s not clear yet whether any Government representatives will be there.
However, Luxon and Minister of Māori Development Tama Potaka met with Kīngi Tūheitia in Ngāruawāhia today, a Government spokesperson said.
“The meeting had been planned since last year and was an opportunity to further build on the relationship they have established in the last two years.”
Last week Waikato-Tainui filed legal action against the Government over its plan to roll-back the use of te reo Māori in the public sector, claiming it is in breach of the 1995 Raupatu treaty settlement.
The coalition has announced it would require the vast majority of public service departments to communicate primarily in English and use English names first.
Waka Kotahi has already taken that step, reverting to its original name, the NZ Transport Agency.
The Government’s already facing a wave of legal action by Māori, including from Tauranga iwi Ngāi Te Rangi, which has filed a similar claim over the use of te reo Māori through the Waitangi Tribunal.
The tribunal has received two further applications under urgency over the Government’s plan to disestablish the Māori Health Authority and remove Section 7AA from the Oranga Tamariki Act.
In early December, a ‘nationwide action day’ was organised by Te Pati Māori.
Luxon that same month said criticism of the new Government was “unfair”.
“I think it’s pretty unfair to be honest. I think the reality is we’ve been in government for a week, we are going to get going and we are going to get things done for Māori and non-Maori, and that’s what our focus is going to be,” he said.
“As I’ve said, we are a government which has been here for a week, we are here to deliver for New Zealanders, for all New Zealanders, that’s up to them to choose the language they want to use but I think it is entirely inappropriate.”