• Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi chair to engage new Government directly about concerns

Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi chair to engage new Government directly about concerns

Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Corporated (NKII) Executive Chair Bayden Barber plans to directly raise issues of concerns with the new National-led coalition Government.

In an interview with Hawke’s Bay App, Barber said he had some concerns about what the new Government planned to do.

“I certainly am concerned. I'm concerned about where they want to take discussions on the treaty. I'm concerned about some of the changes in policy around smoking. And of course, smoking has a huge impact on mortality rates of Māori.”

“And especially our wahine. Yeah. so those are some of the things that we are concerned about. And already this week they've come up as, I guess, key platforms for this incoming government. We are a bit anxious about that. And we'll be looking forward to engaging with the new government around their stance on issues that have a huge impact on Iwi Māori.”

Asked if he would use the Iwi Leadership Forum to raise his concerns, Barber was clear that he would engage directly with new ministers.

“I'll be looking to engage directly as the chair of Ngāti Kahungunu. It's always good to get new Governments around the table. Kanohi ki te kanohi

“We will engage as iwi chairs, but I'll be looking for opportunities to engage as the chair of Ngāti Kahungunu. We met as regional leaders last week at a collaboration hui, and there are big issues that we as the region's leaders, mayors, and the chair of the regional council need to sit down and discuss with the incoming government. Three waters would be one of them, and how we could look at our regional model.”

Barber says he was also keen to see the new Government’s appetite for regional deals where “we can look at strategic opportunities to work with government”.

“I think there will be opportunities to engage with the ministers, now that we know who they are. It'd be good to have them come up here, but everyone's trying to get a piece of the new government.”

“Certainly Iwi chairs will have an opportunity at Waitangi in the north in February, and we'll be lining up some of our key concerns to put in front of the government. And as you would imagine, the Treaty of Waitangi will be at the top of the list.”

“And that might take time. But they've been quite direct in terms of what they want to achieve in this term in some of the rhetoric that has already come out the first week of the formation of the coalition. We won't be shy. We won't hold back in terms of our feedback to them.”

One of the ministers that Barber hopes to engage with is Paul Goldsmith, who is the new Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Minister. Barber says he is quite an interesting choice.

“We wouldn't have picked Paul Goldsmith to be the minister for treaty settlements. Nonetheless, we need to have a relationship, but that's going to be a key relationship for Iwi and PSGs around the country.”

“There's a lot to discuss, but the early narrative is concerning to Ngāti Kahungunu.”