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Simon Bridges criticises Jacinda Ardern for her handling of Ihumātao, says she should tell protestors to 'go home'


Opposition leader Simon Bridges has lashed out at Jacinda Ardern today, criticising her handling of the Ihumātao protests.

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The Leader of the Opposition is concerned about a precedent being set but protesters who claim they're already home are fighting back. Source: 1 NEWS

He issued a statement saying the Prime Minister was wrong to get involved and was rewarding protestors by issuing a halt to building plans on the site.

"I think what the Prime Minister has to do is back the police, tell the protestors to go home," Mr Bridges told 1 NEWS.

Those leading the movement are firing back, protest leader, Pania Newton among those to comment. 

"How can he say that when people are exercising their kaitiakitanga, on their whenua and for their rights?" she told 1 NEWS. 

The Government initially refused to get involved but stepped in on July 26 to mediate discussions, saying all building activity on the land would be stopped while a solution was sought. 

According to Mr Bridges, that was interference. 

"I think it's incumbent on the prime minister, having stuck her oar in earlier on, to show some leadership," he said.

"The Prime Minister has got involved here where she shouldn’t have and in doing so is setting an appalling precedent. She is rewarding protestors and runs the risk of reopening full and final settlements which is incredibly dangerous and expensive," he said in a statement.

"Some two weeks on from her interference, there is a lack of leadership from the Prime Minister when it’s badly needed. What she needs to do is right the wrong of getting involved by telling protestors to go home and let the landowners build houses for Aucklanders.

Today, Jacinda Ardern was clear, the Government is focused on finding lasting resolution.

"We are supporting the work that's been done by kingitanga, to bring all the parties to the table and find a solution," she says.

Mr Bridges said he had asked Ms Ardern this week what her position was on "this clear breach" of property rights.

"She talked about solutions for Māori by Māori with no clear view on how to resolve matters," he said.

"Since the Prime Minister’s involvement, the protestors have been empowered to get aggressive with the Police who are there to keep the peace. They have yelled at them and racially abused them."

"It’s been two weeks since the Prime Minister wrongly intervened in the Ihumātao land protests. She has shown no leadership since then."