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Mäori Purposes Bill (No 2) 2002 Tabled In House

13 March 2002 Media Statement

Mäori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia said the Mäori Purposes Bill (No2) 2002 will ensure there are no unnecessary delays for Treaty claimants when membership of Tribunals has to change because of unforeseen circumstances.

Mr Horomia, who tabled the omnibus bill in the House today, said the bill introduces important changes to legislation that affects Mäori.

The Mäori Purposes Bill (No2) 2002 introduced has three major components. It:

 Amends the Treaty of Waitangi Act 1975 to give the Waitangi Tribunal express power to replace members for reasons of illness or other circumstances that prevent them from carrying out their duties. The amendment will also clarify the position as to changes of Tribunal membership in three inquiries: the Wellington Tenths Inquiry (Wai 145), the Hauraki Inquiry (Wai 686) and the Kaipara Inquiry (Wai 674).

 Amends the Broadcasting Act 1989 to reflect a Cabinet decision in 2000 to transfer the responsibility for Mäori broadcasting policy and Te Reo Whakapuaki (Te Mängai Päho) from the Minister of Broadcasting to the Minister of Mäori Affairs.

 Amends the Mäori Land Amendment and Mäori Land Claims Adjustment Act 1926 to increase the number of fishing licenses available to members of Ngäti Tüwharetoa for Lake Taupo, from 50 to 200.

Mr Horomia said the change to the Treaty of Waitangi Act 1975 will be welcomed by Tribunal claimants.

“Inquiries into Treaty claims are already long and often arduous for claimants. It is to everyone’s benefit if resolution of grievances is not delayed.”

The Minister also said transfer of responsibility for Mäori broadcasting policy and Te Reo Whakapuaki (Te Mängai Paho) from the Minister of Broadcasting to the Minister of Mäori Affairs has already occurred.

“The amendments simply bring the Broadcasting Act 1989 into line with the Cabinet decision of June 2000. The decision was made to facilitate a more consistent approach to the promotion of our language and culture.”

Mr Horomia said the increase in the number of fishing licenses available to Ngati Tuwharetoa on Lake Taupo reflects the substantial increase in both the overall number of licenses that are now issued for the lake and in the membership of an iwi that has given much to our nation.

“The number was originally set in 1926. Revision is long overdue,” says Mr Horomia.

The Minister said he looked forward to the speedy passage and implementation of all three amendments after their consideration by Parliament.

Background Information

Treaty of Waitangi Act 1975

The changes to the Act contained in the Mäori Purposes Bill 2002 will allow the Chair of the Waitangi Tribunal to:

 Replace a presiding officer or member of a Tribunal for the purposes of a particular claim or other matter, and

 Appoint an acting presiding officer for a specified period when the presiding officer is prevented from being present at part or all of a Tribunal sitting.

The amendment will also clarify the status of Tribunals inquiring into the Hauraki Inquiry (Wai 686), the Kaipara Inquiry (Wai 674) and the Wellington Tenths Inquiry (Wai 145).

Tribunal hearings on particular claims often occur over a lengthy period of time. The changes are intended to facilitate the completion of Tribunal hearings of a particular claim where, for reasons of ill health or other unforeseen circumstances, a member can no longer continue holding office.

There are three current Tribunal panels in which membership changes have occurred. These are the Kaipara, Hauraki and Wellington Tenths inquiries. The Bill makes specific provision for these membership changes.

Broadcasting Act 1989
The changes to the Broadcasting Act 1989 are minor technical amendments. The practical transfer of responsibilities for broadcasting policy and the monitoring of Te Mängai Paho has already occurred.

The changes aim to make the Crown’s approach to the promotion of Mäori language and culture more consistent. The change allows the promotion of Mäori language and culture through broadcasting to be more closely integrated with other Government policies relating to Mäori.

A similar change occurred when the responsibility for NZ On Air and cultural broadcasting policy transferred from the Ministry of Commerce to the Ministry of Culture and Heritage.

Mäori Land Amendment and Mäori Land Claims Adjustment Act
The amendment reflects increases in both the number of licenses for Lake Taupo and in the membership of Ngäti Tüwharetoa since the original allocation of licenses in 1926. The licenses are for exotic (introduced) species and are free of charge.

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