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Land Bank Holding $125 Million of Property

ACT Leader Hon Richard Prebble today said over $125 million of land is now being held in Government's land bank for the settlement of Treaty of Waitangi claims according to the Justice Department.

"The Government set up the land banking scheme in 1993 and it is administered by the Justice Department. A property can be land banked if the area in question is subject to a claim before the Waitangi Tribunal and the whole of the property in question falls within the boundary of the claim area.

"The land bank is another example of the Treaty Industry spiralling into all aspects of life - the claims are hamstringing the Government's own assets. The reason ACT's policy to set a time limit for settlement of Treaty of Waitangi claims is so important is that the growing elements of the Treaty industry such as land banks are spiralling out of control.

"Most New Zealanders don't realist the full impact the settlement process now has. It is one thing to resolve legitimate claims, another to claim the flora, fauna and the light and the radio waves. But now we are seeing the spread of grievance paralysis into Government itself.

"Labour has not told New Zealanders their plans for the Treaty after the election. Professor Margaret Wilson wants the Treaty made part of the constitution. Labour has not put this outrageous plan to the people of New Zealand. In fact, I could think of nothing that could bring New Zealand's Parliament, the Courts and rule of law into contempt more.

"If separate laws for Maori seem reasonable to Labour - then how far away is a separate Maori Parliament?

"New Zealanders need to understand the full extent of the Treaty process. That is why we have compiled and released to all our candidates a complete listing of all the Treaty claims in their regions.

"Only ACT is saying that laws based on race are unacceptable - there should be one law for all. If this is the sort of Maori Sovereignty that Labour and the Alliance support, then non-Maori can reasonably ask themselves what sovereignty they are entitled to.

"This is the most important issue facing New Zealanders. ACT is the only Party saying we must put the Treaty process behind us. The way to do that is to set out a timetable for the fair, full and final settlement of legitimate Treaty claims," said Hon Richard Prebble. ENDS

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