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Historic Places Trust powers go too far

Nick Smith National Environment Spokesperson

19 November 2002

Historic Places Trust powers go too far

The rights of every private landowner are at risk following the decision by the Historic Places Trust to declare 180 hectares of private land near Tauranga wahi tapu, says National's Environment spokesperson Nick Smith.

"This is an outrageous abuse of the Trust's powers. The four landowners affected have been robbed of the enjoyment of their land without consultation or any right of appeal.

"The landowners' rights to build a home, harvest their land or subdivide their properties have been lost without any compensation.

"This is the largest wahi tapu registered by the Historic Places Trust and is on very flimsy evidence. These sacred sites are usually small areas, but this decision opens the floodgates to any landscape of importance to Maori.

"This decision highlights the Historic Places Trust's draconian powers and the need to implement the recommendations of the 1998 heritage review to transfer all regulatory powers into the far more accountable Resource Management Act.

"The Government's decision to ditch the reforms and stretch the definition of heritage to include Maori spiritual values is going to cause a lot more injustices of this sort."

Dr Smith says National would remove the Historic Places Trust regulatory powers and include heritage within the fairer process of the Resource Management Act.

Ends

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