Friday September 22, 2017   Last updated 09:09AM

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SOUL questions put spotlight on NZ officials in Geneva
Left to right: Delwyne Roberts (SOUL), Pania Newton (SOUL), Heather Came-Friar (STIR, TTW etc),Dame Susan Devoy (Race Relations Commissioner NZ).

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Activists occupying land at Ihumatao say the New Zealand Government delegation to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racism and Discrimination in Geneva has failed to answer questions about the development of a Special Housing Area on the confiscated Maori land near Auckland Airport.

Pania Newton, who travelled to Geneva to brief the committee, says the officials seemed unprepared for the questions, in contrast to their responses to the other issues raised.

She says the committee’s special rapporteur for New Zealand, Gay McDougall, queried whether Fletcher Residential consulted the whole community on its plan to build 480 homes on the site, which has archaeological and cultural importance.

The delegation head, Andrew Bridgeman, said the company negotiated with some groups in the area, but not with all of them.

He pointed out the land was privately owned, ignoring its confiscation from Maori owners in the 1860s in an action the crown now admits was unjustified.

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