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Bill lodged to enhance Māori land utilisation

Nuk Korako - National List MP

22 March 2018

Bill lodged to enhance Māori land utilisation

A Members’ Bill proposing significant reform to the Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993 has been lodged by the National Party spokesperson for Māori Development, Nuk Korako.

“Since 1993 we have seen a huge number of Treaty settlements progressed, with most of these completed under the previous National Government and the former Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations, Hon Chris Finlayson. This has resulted in a great deal of land returning to Māori ownership,” Mr Korako says.

“The Te Ture Whenua Māori Bill would unlock the economic potential of the approximately 1.4 million hectares of land - or around 5 per cent of New Zealand’s land mass - which would add hundreds of millions of dollars of value for Māori landowners and their whānau.

“The Bill removes unnecessary bureaucracy that impedes decision making and encumbers unutilised land with unfair rates.

“It also enables Māori to sort differences of opinion out amongst themselves over how best to manage their lands using tikanga approaches. It places the courts as an arbiter of last resort rather than the first resort – but it still retains all the legal protection of the Court if it is needed.

“The unfortunate politicisation of the hard work undertaken to reform the Act by the former Government saw much needed and called for reform put on hold and then axed by current Māori Development Minister, Nanaia Mahuta. The reforms were done in consultation with Māori at every step of the way.

“The Minister has offered no alternative to the existing Act other than vague assertions that she’s looking into the matter. We hope the Government will vote for this Bill to ensure these necessary and popular reforms proceed.”

ends

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