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Live updates, December 17: Ihumātao deal announced; vaccines for all NZers – roll-out plans revealed

Welcome to The Spinoff’s live updates for December 17. 

12.10pm: ‘Beginning of the next phase’ for Ihumātao 

The Protect Ihumātao campaign Save Our Unique Landscape (SOUL), which led the occupation of the land, has issued a statement responding to the announcement (see 12.00pm).

“Today is a very significant day for our tūpuna and whānau of Makaurau Marae, for the Ihumātao papakāinga and for the iwi and hapū who whakapapa to this whenua. We want to express our deepest gratitude for the leadership of Kiingi Tuheitia Pootatau Te Wherowhero Te Tuawhitu and his representatives in facilitating the process that has led to today’s resolution,” it reads.

“Our people have lived here for more than 800 years. We know our whenua and care deeply about its future. Our whenua was unjustly confiscated in 1863 and our tūpuna were exiled to the Waikato. This injustice has never been addressed through the treaty settlement process. For generations Ihumātao paid a price for the developing city, our maunga were quarried, our moana polluted, our awa desecrated and our whenua diminished.”

The statement concludes: “A whole history of our nation can be told here. Our stories are embedded in this landscape. Today’s decision affirms international commitments to Indigenous rights and the place of Tangata Whenua in Aotearoa. It reminds us that the wellbeing of our whenua is intimately connected to the wellbeing of our people.

“There’s more work to do, but today’s resolution is a significant step and represents the beginning of the next phase in this process. Today we, the co-founders of the campaign to protect Ihumātao especially acknowledge the courage and moral determination of our people to be seen and heard and, to exercise mana motuhake in any decisions concerning the future and orangatanga of our whenua.

“He oranga whenua, he oranga marae, he oranga tangata.”

12.00pm: Ihumātao deal announced

Just over four years after the occupation began, a deal on the future of the land at Ihumātao has been announced by the government. A resolution on a purchase of the South Auckland land from Fletcher had come close before the election, only to be blocked by Labour coalition partner New Zealand First.

“A Memorandum of Understanding (He Pūmautanga) has been signed by the Kīngitanga, the Crown and Auckland Council which sets out how parties will work together to decide the future of the land,” deputy prime minister Grant Robertson said in a statement.

The land is being purchased from Fletchers for $29.9 million under the Land for Housing Programme. 

All parties involved in the memorandum have committed that housing will be on the site.

“There is a need for housing to support kaumatua and kuia of this place and this agreement recognises that,” said housing minister Megan Woods.

The deal was negotiated by Kīngitanga and the government.

Kiingi Tuuheitia Pootatau Te Wherowhero VII has given his royal blessing to the memorandum.

“After more than 160 years of alienation from Ihumātao, the descendants of the original owners will be reconnected with their whenua,” Kīngitanga spokesman Rahui Papa said. The deal, they stressed, was a “transaction that’s outside the Treaty of Waitangi settlement process”.

Papa said Kīngitanga’s intervention brought a “tikanga-based”approach to the discussions and gave the parties the time to develop a “by Māori for Māori” solution.

Jacinda Ardern has still not visited the site, saying earlier this week that she still planned to when a resolution had been reached.

Māori Development Minister Willie Jackson said He Pūmautanga marks a significant step forward for the mana whenua of Ihumātao.

“It is important that those who have an interest in the future of Ihumātao have a seat at the decision making table. To that end, a steering committee will be formed working on a consensus basis to make those decisions and guide the process from here,” he said.

The steering committee, Rōpu Whakahaere, will have six members including:

  •         Three Ahi Kaa representatives supported by the Kīngitanga;
  •         One representative representing the Kīngitanga; and
  •         Two representatives representing the Crown.

Representatives of the SOUL campaign are expected to address media early this afternoon.

10.30am: The experts on the big new vaccine plan

The heroes at the Science Media Centre have collected comment from New Zealand’s biggest brains on the pandemic, public health and immunology. Read Michael Baker, Siouxsie Wiles, Nikki Turner and more here.

9.00am: Vaccine strategy announced: Two new vaccines secured, enough for everyone

The government’s secured two new Covid-19 vaccines, meaning there will be enough for every New Zealander to get the jab.

Border workers are expected to be immunised in the second quarter of next year, with the general population in the second half.

The two new vaccines are from pharmaceutical companies AstraZeneca and Novavax, prime minister Jacinda Ardern has announced.

Specifically, 7.6 million doses from AstraZeneca – enough for 3.8 million people, and 10.72 million doses from Novavax– enough for 5.36 million people. Both vaccines require two doses to be administered.

It’s in addition to the 750,000 courses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine pre-purchased and five million courses from Janssen.

“We now have agreements in place with four providers, covering three different types of vaccine technology and we have secured more than enough doses to cover our entire population plus the Pacific,” Jacinda Ardern said.

The new vaccines have “proven to be safe and effective” by Medsafe, said Ardern, and will “provide broad population coverage for New Zealand and our Pacific neighbours”.

Getting one of the vaccines will be free for everybody, health minister Andrew Little confirmed. “Currently, given we have no community transmission, the first group who would be immunised are those most at risk of being exposed to Covid-19. This includes the border and MIQ workforce, the Covid-19 frontline healthcare workers, and their household contacts. This will further strengthen our border.”

The Ministry of Health has also purchased nine large minus-80 degree Celsius freezers that can store more than 1.5 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. They are on track to arrive by the end of the year.

New Zealand ready to provide $75m for Pacific and global Covid-19 vaccination support

In addition to today’s new vaccine announcement, the government has confirmed $75 million of “Official Development Assistance” has been earmarked to support Pacific and global vaccine access and roll-out.

“New Zealand is pursuing a portfolio of potential Covid-19 vaccines to ensure we have flexibility and choice in the fast-moving global marketplace,” said foreign affairs minister Nanaia Mahuta.

“We want to make sure Pacific countries can also access suitable options, and have the support they need to run successful immunisation campaigns.”

Top stories from The Bulletin

The half-yearly economic and fiscal update has been released by Treasury, and the numbers are (in context) remarkably good. Politik has a good wrap of that context, and the key number is unemployment, which has been kept below the dire range that was being warned about earlier in the year. There’s a memorable line in the piece which sums the current economic situation up – “simply, the HYEFU shows that the Government has bought its way out of Covid.” And it has turned out to be a pretty savvy purchase.

Even so, the future outlook is pretty complicated, and 2021 won’t necessarily be an easy year. Analysing the figures, Stuff’s Luke Malpass notes suggestions that we’re still seeing an effect of displaced spending from lockdowns and closed borders, and that could start to dry up. He also notes that New Zealand “remains at the mercy of the global economic conditions”, which means that our trading partners might end up having much less ability or interest in buying our goods. Stuff’s Thomas Coughlan reports the economic upside has another effect – house prices will continue to rise much faster than wages, which in turn will deepen inequality.

Read more and subscribe to The Bulletin here

7.30pm: Yesterday’s headlines

An interim report by the Royal Commission into Abuse in Care was released, detailing systemic failures in the state’s handling of abuse claims.

The Treasury’s half year economic and fiscal update (HYEFU) said economic recovery will be much more robust than initially forecast.

There were four new cases of Covid-19 detected in managed isolation.

Speaker of the house Trevor Mallard appeared before a select committee to explain his role in a $300,000 legal dispute.

Retirement village operator Summerset announced it would pay back the $8.6 million it received through Covid-19 wage subsidy scheme.

Read all the key stories in yesterday’s live updates




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