Despite a lacklustre speech, it was good Luxon, and other government leaders, fronted to hear from Māori, Harawira said.
Ngāpuhi leader Mere Mangu, who spoke before Luxon and urged calm, said Luxon’s prepared speech was not appropriate.
“I was very disappointed that he had a speech that had been written for him that was not appropriate for the occasion and completely didn’t hear any of the messaging that had been put across.
“I think he missed a golden opportunity to start the dialogue at least about what we’re so concerned about.”
There was no need for a first reading of the Bill, she said. “We can have a discussion about what Te Tiriti is about – that’s no problem at all – but it does not have to go to the first reading and go through select committee.”
In defence of the Prime Minister
Finance Minister Nicola Willis earlier told First Up she wasn’t surprised with Luxon’s views about how to reflect on the national day remained consistent.
Willis said she had a “lot of conversations with Māori” while up north and a special few days.
“Waitangi it has a special wairua, it has a special spirit to it, you can feel its history, and I find it’s a really reflective time whenever I am there.”
The Treaty Principles Bill was “certainly was one of the issues that was being debated at Waitangi, but I don’t think it was the only issue”.
Hīkoi organiser’s response
Organiser of the hīkoi from Cape Reinga to Waitangi, Reuben Taipari, said politicians at Waitangi came with prepared speeches and weren’t listening to the people.
“It’s not even disappointing, because I could almost write you the speech before they even get there,” he told Morning Report. “It was actually quite threatening and undermining how politicians spoke to the people.”