Key criticised for 'weasel words' on Standing Rock support

7:29 am on 2 November 2016

Māori MPs are calling on the government to send a message to President Obama in support of Native Americans protesting against a controversial oil pipeline.

Green MP Marama Davidson and protesters show their support for the protests at Standing Rock.

Green MP Marama Davidson and protesters show their support for the protests at Standing Rock. Photo: Supplied

Te Taitokerau MP Kelvin Davis said the government should send a strong message to the US president and put its support behind First Nations people at Standing Rock in North Dakota.

Indigenous people are opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline to be built across the tribal lands of the Sioux reservations and which has the potential to pollute their water source.

New Zealand is a member of the Declaration for the Rights of Indigenous People, an international document which, among many things, recognises the rights of indigenous people to self-determination and to protect their natural and cultural heritage.

Labour MP Louisa Wall shows her support for the people of Standing Rock.

Labour MP Louisa Wall shows her support for the people of Standing Rock. Photo: Supplied

New Zealand signed up to the declaration under the National-led government in 2009 and Mr Davis said it was time to pay more than lip service.

The Labour MP said it appeared the government signed the document "with no intention to endorse it when the rubber hits the road."

"And the rubber is hitting the road in America - and our government is again showing weakness when it should be taking a strong and principled position on it, and letting all these western countries know that the age of colonisation is well and truly over."

But Prime Minister John Key said he did not think the issue was a matter for New Zealand.

"You know this is a big pipeline, I just don't know the details, whether there is a way around this issue, it's really an issue for the US, isn't it, in this case."

But Mr Davis said Mr Key's comments were weasel words.

"I've got a two word answer to that - Kermadec Islands. They gave Te Aupouri and Ngāti Kuri 20 minutes' warning that they were going to make an announcement around the Kermadec Islands.

"The Kermadec Islands are a wāhi tapu to us, that's where the waka Kurahaupō landed."

Labour MP Nanaia Mahuta posted this photo showing her support of Standing Rock protesters.

Labour MP Nanaia Mahuta posted this photo showing her support of Standing Rock protesters. Photo: Supplied

Labour MPs Louisa Wall and Nanaia Mahuta have joined the Māori Party's Marama Fox, Te Ururoa Flavell and president Tukoroirangi Morgan in an online protest against the pipeline.

Green Party MP Marama Davidson said the Prime Minister couldn't pick and choose the global issues he wanted to be part of, and said he was obliged through the UN declaration to speak up.

"Have a kōrero to your buddy in the US," she said. "The construction of the pipeline needs to stop and the indigenous peoples need to be protected, and in the very least need to be able to protest without the escalation of violence coming from the authorities and the police force."

Te Ururoa Flavell, Tukoroirangi Morgan and Marama Fox stand in support of Standing Rock protesters.

Te Ururoa Flavell, Tukoroirangi Morgan and Marama Fox stand in support of Standing Rock protesters. Photo: Supplied

New Zealanders have been at the occupations where more than 100 people have been arrested.

A Facebook group, Haka with Standing Rock, has enabled hundreds of Māori to post messages and specifically haka in support of protesters in Standing Rock.

The group has more than 16,000 members and hundreds of messages of support.

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