House of Representatives Speaker Scott K. Saiki presented the following remarks at the "Save Our Kakaʻako Makai Rally" held at the State Capitol on Tuesday, March 16, 2021:
Thank you for inviting me today.
I want to inform you that I spoke with the Chair of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs to inform her that the House will not advance S.B. 1334.
As you know, 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.
Some will say that I oppose S.B. 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.
Kakaʻako Makai is the last remaining parcel of viable open space between Waikīkī and the airport.
Preventing residential development will prevent uncontrolled development and preserve this open space for the next generation and the next-next generation.
But I want to ask that you not consider the deferral of S.B. 1334 as a "win" for your organization.
The Office of Hawaiian Affairs has a significant responsibility to assist its beneficiaries.
OHA needs financial resources to do this.
Senator Moriwaki and I will attempt to work with OHA to explore alternatives to developing Kakaʻako Makai.
I ask that everyone – including all of you here today – be constructive so that we can move together on this critical issue.