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Maori land court hearing a way off

Maori land court hearing a way off

Attorney-General Margaret Wilson says that while she understands the Maori Land Court in Gisborne intends to schedule preliminary steps in a cluster of Maori coastal claims, the Judge's decision is not that a final hearing will take place in advance of Government's timetable to legislate.

Margaret Wilson was responding to a story in the New Zealand Herald today.

"I understand from a Maori Land Court decision in Gisborne that steps preliminary to a hearing of foreshore and seabed claims can proceed. Indications from counsel for the applicants at the hearing are that these steps would take many months. No written decision from the Judge has yet been received. Obviously Government will consider the detail of the decision when it is received."

"I also understand that the judge has recused herself, the reason being that she is a member of Ngati Porou and Rongowhakaata - therefore there's a perception that she has a conflict of interest, as her iwi could benefit from any decision."

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