The MP for Northland says he “condemns” a local iwi’s boat ramp protest as “illegal actions”.
At least 30 members of Ngāti Kahu blocked the access road to a boat ramp in Taipā on Friday, ahead of the annual Doubtless Bay Fishing Competition.
The event regularly draws about 500 contestants and features a charity fish auction at the end of each day.
Grant McCallum, a National MP who won the Northland electorate in October, had spoken to members of the local community, who had raised concerns about the jetty protest.
“A number of people have come out and said, ‘We don’t support this protest and it’s not constructive.’
“If the law is being broken, I would like to think that police will act, because it’s not acceptable that people block people going about their daily business.”
The fishing competition was “a long-standing local event that funds community services”, he said.
“As the local MP, I condemn any illegal actions that impede people going about their lawful business. This has the potential to flare up and create unnecessary tension in the community.
“I thank the local Matakairiri hapū for their statement that they do not support disrupting the competition.”
Ngāti Kahu members vowed to continue their protests against the popular fishing contest.
Some were camped out at the boat ramp again on Saturday, which forced boaties to launch in other places.
Protest organiser Wikatana Popata said on Friday that as well as the group’s concerns about the number of fish caught during the contest, they believed the organisers should have consulted iwi before staging the event.
One person was arrested on Friday for obstructing a public way, but later released with a warning.
The protest group subsequently met competition organisers for a discussion.