National Party Leader Simon Bridges has slammed the Prime Minister for interfering with progress on Ihumātao, saying the Government should "get on and build some houses".
On Friday, Jacinda Ardern stepped in to halt all building plans for the disputed Fletchers site at Ihumātao, which is regarded as sacred Māori land. The Prime Minister made the announcement after long-standing protests heated up the past two weeks.
But Mr Bridges told TVNZ1’s Breakfast this morning her move to intervene was a "really bad error of judgment", adding it set a bad precedent.
"You've got Treaty claims that have been settled, you've had court cases that have been through, and she's jumped in and owned it and I think this is now her problem to solve," he said.
"Now's the time, actually, those things have been resolved and we should get on and build some houses...I get some of those complex issues at a level, but I would also say to you this shows a Government that's not serious about getting on and building houses."
Mr Bridges said Fletcher Building and local iwi would have gotten to a position where they could manage the cultural sensitivities and historic issues and build the houses New Zealand needs if Ms Ardern hadn't have stepped in.
"They can't because the Prime Minister stopped it," he said. "She weighed in on Friday before going to Tokelau and said, 'You know what, let's put a halt to this,' so you've got a situation where actually in housing terms the Government's going backwards."
Yesterday, Mr Bridges called Jacinda Ardern "a part-time Prime Minister" for going on a trip to Tokelau amid the protests. She is the first PM to visit Tokelau, a New Zealand territory, since 2004, travelling from July 27 until tomorrow.