• Video: Ngāti Kahungunu chair uses Prime Minister’s visit as opportunity to raise concerns about new Government’s direction

Video: Ngāti Kahungunu chair uses Prime Minister’s visit as opportunity to raise concerns about new Government’s direction

Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated Chair, Bayden Barber used a visit to Hawke’s Bay by Prime Minister Christopher Luxon today as opportunity to raise concerns about new Government’s direction.

Luxon, together with Emergency Management Minister Mark Mitchell and Local Government and Transport Minister Simeon Brown, held meetings with local leaders in Wairoa and Napier.

Barber attended a meeting at the Napier War Memorial Centre for the Prime Minister to hear what Hawke’s Bay needs in the wake of Cyclone Gabrielle. Barber has expressed concern about a statement made by the coalition Government of National, ACT and New Zealand First. The Coalition said they would remove the Māori Health Authority, Māori wards in local government, Māori involvement in the governance of natural resources, Māori language in government departments, the right of Māori children to be kept in their own whānau, government services being delivered to Māori, Smokefree New Zealand, the jurisdiction of the Waitangi Tribunal, and Māori rights under Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Barber said his first interaction with Luxon had gone well.

“He started talking about cyclone recovery and some of the issues around that, Three Waters, infrastructure. Yeah. But then we got to the number of my issue, and that's relationships with the Crown. We have a good relationship here within our Matariki framework. It's built on 50/50 understanding, 50 mana whenua, talking to whenua, 50/50 with our mayors and our chair of the regional council.”

“I said, that's how you build success. This model is successful. And I am concerned about some of the issues that are coming, some of the narrative that's coming out of central government. And anyway, that led to quite a robust discussion between myself and the Prime Minister. Yeah, that was good. It was great. And that's what I wanted. But the agenda hadn't quite fitted that in, so I just had to make a way into it.”

Barber said he appreciated the Prime Minister’s response.

“I think it's important that he hears from me face-to-face, and I hear from him face-to-face, rather than any kind of through the media type thing. I appreciated that and I think so did he and his ministers.”

He said he was hopeful of establishing a good relationship with Luxon.

 “My relationship with the Prime Minister is really important. The fact that we could be open and honest in this meeting today  sends a signal that he's about outcomes. He's about getting results, getting stuff done. I said, ‘Yeah, we're about that too’."

The meeting came in a week that Te Pāti Māori organised nationwide protests against what the new Government is planning to do.

Ngāti Kahungunu has also called meeting across all of its six taiwhenua (regions) to discuss its approach moving forward amid concern about the new National-led Government’s direction.

The Hui a Iwi is being held on Saturday 16 December at Waimarama Marae and starts with a pōwhiri at 9am.

The purpose of the Hui-a-Iwi is to bring Kahungunu together, to discuss the impact that the Governments announced changes have on each region and to communicate and coordinate the united key elements of a Kahungunu 3-year strategy that will be presented at the National Hui for Unity being hosted by Kiingi Tuheitia at Turangawaewae Marae, Ngaruawahia on 20 January 2024.

“We recognise that this is a busy time of year, however this is an important kaupapa and requires a coordinated approach, and a Hui-a-Iwi is the best way to unite our iwi voice.” says Barber.

Watch the accompanying video to see the interview with Bayden Barber after his meeting with Prime Minister Christopher Luxon.