UN Calls for Review of SHA 62 Designation

The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) has criticised the Government’s process for setting up Special Housing Area 62 at Ihumātao near Auckland International Airport and issued a strong recommendation for a review of this designation.

Pania Newton and Delwyne Roberts of Ihumātao attended the 93rd Meeting of CERD in Geneva two weeks ago (in mid-August 2017), to put the grievance for SOUL, a mana whenua led campaign working to protect culturally, historically, spiritually and archaeologically significant land at Ihumātao.

Says Newton: “This is a very important outcome. Our concerns and criticisms have finally been recognised, at an international level. This recognition means that the New Zealand Government has a duty to reconsider the designation of SHA 62. I am so stoked!”

Delwyne Roberts says: “It is very disheartening that we have to go to the world stage to achieve this fundamental recognition and to have our plea for more just democratic processes heard. But the UN recommendations are very helpful.”

Two clauses of the UN report note the inadequacy of the consultation with mana whenua over the establishment of SHA 62 and call for a "review, in consultation with all affected Māori, [of] the designation of Special Housing Area 62 to evaluate its conformity with the Treaty of Waitangi, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and other relevant international standards.”

Newton says: “The replies given by senior New Zealand Government officials when questioned by members of CERD were wholly inadequate. The information presented was inconsistent, unsubstantial and nonfactual, and most disappointing coming from the Crown.”

Roberts says: "The New Zealand officials fudged the issues and were unable to answer the critical questions put to them. The UN Committee made a clear distinction between consultation and consent and it became obvious to its members that Māori most affected by the proposed housing development have not been properly consulted, nor have they given their consent." 

SOUL is determined to fight on and take whatever measures are necessary to oppose the development by the transnational corporation Fletcher Residential Limited (FRL) which has plans and consents to build 480 high-cost homes on 32 hectares known to Māori as Puketāpapa at Ihumātao.

Brendan Corbett SOUL spokesperson asks: "The United Nations can understand the issues of historical justice and informed consent surrounding SHA 62, so why can't the New Zealand Government and Auckland Council?"

See points 18 and 19 of the report, "Concluding observations on the combined twenty-first and twenty-second periodic reports of New Zealand", adopted by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination at its ninety-third session (31 July to 25 August 2017). 

The SOUL campaign and Geneva trip is referenced on social media at: 

Media contacts:
Pania Newton - 021 147 4607 or panianewton@yahoo.co.nz
Brendan Corbett - 021 057 7478
SOUL - saveihumatao@gmail.com