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Floodgates Set To Open

Floodgates Set To Open

Thursday 21 Nov 2002 Gerry Eckhoff Press Releases -- Rural

The registration of sites in New Zealand as wahi tapu could soon become endemic," ACT New Zealand Rural Affairs spokesman Gerry Eckhoff said today.

"At present, district councils or territorial authorities can designate wahi tapu sites based on recommendations of the Historic Places Trust and its sub-committee, the Maori Heritage Council.

"The Local Government Amendment Bill could lock in these recommendations, as Maori will receive at least two seats on every council as of right. The resource consents required to develop these areas means that landowners must first consult with Maori. Consultation, however, is too often a euphemism for monetary exchange - as exampled recently when Ngai Tahu received $1.62 million for loss of traditional rights.

With the Historic Places Trust to push for more power - which will put its decisions definitive - wahi tapu is in danger of being seen by the public as little more than a Government wealth creation scheme for Maori at private property owners' expense," said Mr Eckhoff.

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