He vowed to prevent foreign buyers from swooping in to exploit the tragedy, suggesting the state was better suited to take control of the land.
“I’m already thinking of ways for the state to acquire that land so that we can put it into workforce housing, to put it back into families, or make it open spaces in perpetuity as a memorial to the people who were lost,” Green said while standing amongst the rubble.
“We want this to be something we remember after the pain passes as a magic place. Lahaina will rebuild. The tragedy right now is the loss of life. The buildings can be rebuilt over time, even the banyan tree may survive, but we don’t want this to become a clear space where then people from overseas just come and decide they’re gonna take it. The state will take it and preserve it first.”
In a separate press conference, Green reiterated his committment to ensure the land was protected for residents, and revealed that he had spoken with the Hawaiian attorney general regarding “options to do a moratorium on any sales of properties that have been damaged or destroyed.”
“It’s going to be a very long time before any growth or housing can be built, so you will be pretty poorly informed if you try to steal land from our people and then build here,” he said, adding, “I will try to allow no one from outside our state to buy any land until we get through this crisis and decide what Lahaina should be in the future.”