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Pecuniary interests and Maori Land Trusts

Pecuniary interests and Maori Land Trusts

Rahui Katene

Notice of Motion: That chapters 3 and 8 and Appendix B of the Standing Orders be read as if amended in the manner set out in Appendix 1 of the report of the Standing Orders Committee on the Review of Standing Orders relating to pecuniary interests with effect from 1 January 2011

Rahui Katene, MP for Te Tai Tonga

Tuesday 14 December 2010

I rise to take a very brief call specific to clause 4(1)(f).

This is the relevant clause which relates to Members of Parliament with interests in Maori land and land trusts.

During the course of the review of the Standing Orders, there was debate around the concept of Maori ownership, and whether or not such lands should be declared on Parliament's pecuniary interests register.

This is a longstanding issue, which is of course unique because of the complexity associated with the declaration of interests in jointly-held Māori land.

If you look through the Pecuniary of interests therefore, you might come across the names of many Maori MPs associated with various Maori land incorporations and land trusts.

If we were to look at Mr Horomia for example, one would find he has a beneficial interest in a wide range of trusts – Panikau H2; Mangatuna 3, 4, 5, 7 and 8; Mangaheia 1B37; Rakiura Maori Land Trusts; Tokomaru K4A and K4B1 and other Maori land incorporations and trusts on the East Coast, Wairarapa and the South Island.

So how would we extrapolate from such a wide list, the beneficial interest that is specific to Mr Horomia as opposed to perhaps hundreds of other beneficiaries?

For some of our MPs there might be an additional problem in completing declarations; as they may not even know they have interests in a Maori land trust.

Even when the information is known, it can be onerous to identify blocks of land held by such trusts.

In responding to the review, Dame Margaret Bazley concluded while she could understand the difficulties unique to Maori MPs with interests in multiply-owned land; she did not consider that it relieves them of their obligation to declare such interests.

Her recommendation was therefore that :

- Maori land will not be exempt from the declaration;

- But by the same means; it was not necessary or reasonable to expect members to identify each individual parcel of Māori land by its Māori Land Court block number.

The Maori Party is happy, therefore, to support a somewhat compromised position.

We agree that an interest in jointly-held Māori land should be declared under the particular clause 4(1)(f).

But we are also pleased to note, that it is sufficient to give only the general location of the land, as for other real property; rather than the specifics of an individual block.

ENDS

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