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Government railroading Maori Land Bill through

Maori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell seems determined to railroad his Te Ture Whenua Maori Bill through despite the large number of submitters in opposition to the bill, says MP Meka Whaitiri, whose Ikaroa-Rāwhiti electorate contains nearly 30 per cent of all Maori freehold land.

“I have so far attended hearings in Auckland, Tauranga and Wellington and the concerns of submitters have confirmed for me that Te Ururoa Flavell simply doesn’t have the broad support of Maori to instigate these reforms.

 “In their submission, The Human Rights Commission even went so far as to say the lack of mandate from Maori for these reforms undermines the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People.

“From large organisations such as Wakatu Incorporation, representing 4,000 shareholders, and Tuaropaki Trust, representing 2,400 beneficial owners, down to smaller whanau trusts, submitters see no value in this Bill and are worried it will lead to further loss of land.

“Te Ururoa Flavell shouldn’t be surprised at the lack of support from submitters on this Bill.

“The Waitangi Tribunal stated earlier this year that the Crown would be in breach of Treaty principles if it does not ensure properly-informed broad-based support from Māori for the new Bill and Opposition parties have been arguing the same all along.

“The Minister needs to listen to his people and stop railroading through this legislation,” says Meka Whaitiri.

The Maori Affairs Select Committee will be in Gisborne for hearings on the TTWM Bill on Friday 26 August from 10 am to 2pm at the Quality Emerald Hotel, 3 Gladstone Rd, Gisborne.