On 18 April 2018, SOUL (Save Our Unique Landscape) and Ngā Kaitiaki o Ihumātao Trust, two NGOs, submitted a specific instance against Fletchers Building Limited at the New Zealand NCP. The complaint concerned the company’s proposed housing development plans. The complainants allege that the company’s building proposals and actions contributed to human rights impacts against indigenous peoples, including historical injustices, intergenerational trauma and the contemporary impacts of forced confiscation, landlessness and poverty of mana whenua (indigenous people (Māori)) at Ihumātao. The complainants referred to the human rights responsibilities of companies under the OECD Guidelines as well as UN human rights instruments, particularly those relating to indigenous people, namely, the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, UN Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, and UN International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
Relevant OECD Guidelines
After reviewing the specific instance, the New Zealand NCP distributed its draft initial assessment to the parties, in which the NCP offered its good offices. However, the complainants requested the NCP pause its consideration of the case and publication of its initial assessment during their campaign opposing the housing development. The NCP did so.
In December 2020, the NZ government announced an agreement on the future of the land at Ihumātao. A Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Kīngitanga, the NZ government and Auckland Council set out how the parties will work together to decide the future of the land. In August 2021, the NZ NCP concluded the complaint on the basis that the Memorandum of Understanding established a process to address the issues at the heart of the specific instance.