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Govt Must Consider Justice For Taranaki Lessees

Government Must Consider Justice For Taranaki Lessees

Tuesday 7 May 2002

Natural justice demands that the Labour-Alliance-Alliance Government seriously consider paying interest to lessees who have just been paid out compensation for changes made to their contracts under the Maori Reserves Lands Act, ACT MP Owen Jennings said today.

"The Government has deliberately withheld payment owing to lessees without a legitimate excuse.

"The ACT party fought very hard for the lessees who were in danger of being ignored when they had extensive property losses under the changed legislation.

"We are determined to see the job through.

"Interest should be assessed at market rates from the time that the compensation would have been paid had the Government acted reasonably. The fact that the Government withheld payment without a valid excuse is not the lessees' fault and they deserve to be recompensed for what is a significant sum of money.

"In the case of some lessees the interest assessment would exceed $25,000. That is too great an amount to be ignored.

"I urge the Minister of Finance to consider the case for interest. He will find that the case is realistic and just," Mr Jennings said.

Ends

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