"Most obvious land grab ever": Hawaii governor acquire land controversy sparks outrage as Josh Green comes under fire 

Governor Josh Green of Hawaii declared that the state will acquire land so that outsiders cannot. (Image via X/Proud Elephant)
Governor Josh Green of Hawaii declared that the state will acquire land so that outsiders cannot. (Image via X/Proud Elephant)

On Tuesday, August 15, Hawaii’s governor, Josh Green told several media outlets including CNBC that the Hawaii state government is looking to acquire the land in the western part of the devastated island, especially the historic town of Lahaina.

In fact, he also warned real estate investors and developers from other parts of the country or the globe to not think of purchasing the destroyed lands. He stated how the state’s acquiring of the land will “protect it for our local people so it’s not stolen by people on the mainland U.S.”

However, his statement was deemed controversial by the internet and has backfired with netizens calling him out for trying to grab land which belonged to the Hawaiian natives and was not state property. One user even commented on X (formerly Twitter):

“They always build memorials where their Satanic sacrifices were made”: Hawaii Governor Josh Green faces backlash from netizens

On August 8, Hawaii’s one of the largest islands and a major tourist hub, Maui, was struck by catastrophic wildfires that completely wrecked the town of Lahaina with a population of 13000. So far, more than a hundred people have lost their lives, with thousands dislocated or unaccounted for. The fire also burned down over 2700 structures including both public and private properties with an estimated value worth $5.6 billion, as per Governor Josh Green.

In the wake of what is being dubbed “the deadliest wildfire in the U.S. in more than a century” and “the worst natural disaster in Hawaii state history,” Governor Green stated how parts of Maui, especially Lahaina, will need to be “completely rebuilt,” an initiative that is expected to take years. Not only that, he also assured the locals that their valuable land will be safe and not grabbed by outside developers. In fact, he mentioned:

“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.”

He further added how he wished to turn some part of the land into memorial grounds for those who lost their lives in the fire, as soon as the reconstruction begins. He said Hawaii officials want its people to remember the island’s magic, even after the pain passed.

“We will be making sure that we do all that we can to prevent that land from falling into the hands of people from the outside. It’s not easy to do in some cases. You can be sure I will not be allowing anyone to build or rezone or do anything of that sort if they’ve taken advantage of anyone here.”

Unfortunately, Hawaii natives as well as netizens have taken Governor Green’s statements as an attack on their lands, with many considering it an obvious land grab by the state, taking full advantage of the disaster. In fact, Josh Green has faced severe online backlash for this. Here is a glimpse:

It's interesting to note that Governor Green also mentioned that he has been in talks with Hawaii’s attorney general and is looking for ways to put a moratorium on the sale of properties that have been affected by the Maui fires.

He also added that state officials have appointed lawyers to visit the rescue shelters and response centers to provide free legal counsel to the natives. This is done to ensure that the natives are not exploited by outsiders who may try to make offers and grab their lands at unreasonable prices in the wake of the inferno.

Green has also offered that over 500 hotel rooms and 435 donated rentals will be used as accommodations for people while the island is rebuilt. AirBnB has also issued 1000 units from its side. The governor has also vouched that once rebuilt, the island won’t get too expensive for the residents.


For those unaware, Hawaii had the highest cost of living in the USA even before the wildfires struck. In fact, it had the fourth highest homelessness rate in the country in 2022 as per the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden declared last week, that the state deserved emergency assistance such as grants for temporary housing, home repair, and minimum-interest loans in such hard times.