House Speaker Scott Saiki today said that the House will not advance Senate Bill 1334 related to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs’ request to use land at Kaka’ako Makai for residential development.
He noted that the prohibition on residential development in Kakaʻako Makai has been in place since 2006. “There is not a compelling reason for the Legislature to reverse this prohibition,” said Speaker Saiki.
“Some will say that I oppose SB 1334 because Kakaʻako Makai is a part of my House district. This is not accurate. The issue here is larger than one person’s House district. Kakaʻako Makai is a statewide issue for all of us,” he said, calling Kakaʻako Makai “the last remaining parcel of viable open space between Waikīkī and the airport.”
He continued saying, “Preventing residential development will prevent uncontrolled development and preserve this open space for the next generation and the next-next generation.” Speaker Saiki said he will continue to work with OHA to explore alternatives to developing Kakaʻako Makai.
OHA Board Chair Carmen “Hulu” Lindsey responded to the news saying: “The Office of Hawaiian Affairs is deeply disappointed that a bill that would allow Native Hawaiians to develop housing in Kakaʻako Makai appears to be dead. We are saddened that Native Hawaiians were robbed of an opportunity to have their voices heard in a single hearing in the House of Representatives.”
She said despite the latest news OHA remains steadfast. “We understand that the pursuit of justice and self-determination for Native Hawaiians continues to be a challenge. We will now turn our attention to finishing our planning efforts,” she said.
“We hope that our progress over the next year will demonstrate that a Native Hawaiian vision for Kakaʻako Makai is something that the entire state will support. We look forward to coming back to the Legislature again next year to continue the discussion of allowing Native Hawaiians to build housing on our lands,” said Lindsey.
“OHA thanks our friends in the Senate for providing Native Hawaiians with a fair chance to make our case. In addition, we thank our growing number of supporters within the Native Hawaiian community and the broader public,” she said.