Māori need answers on Land Court job losses

Māori landowners, Māori employees and Treaty partners need answers after a Ministry of Justice consultation document has revealed dozens of roles will be disestablished at the Māori Land Court, says Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri.

“This can’t be viewed as a normal restructure within a public department.

“The Maori Land Court has been here for 150 years. It recognises land as taonga tuku iho of special significance to Māori, and for many Māori the court is a taonga in itself.

“The consultation document raises questions that need answering.

“Māori employees are disproportionately affected and we need to make sure they were properly consulted and will be supported through this process.

“Māori landowners, whānau and hapū who put a lot of faith in the Court are now facing the loss of hundreds of years of collective institutional knowledge and will be concerned at how this will affect them and their dealings with the Court.

“It’s also unclear whether Treaty partners have been consulted on these proposed changes.

“With the Te Ture Whenua Māori Bill before Select Committee, and no answers on the shape, function or role of the proposed Māori Land Service, the timing of the restructure seems completely wrong.

“How can the removal of capability be justified when future structures of the Court and the laws administering Māori land are so up in the air?

“We need answers now. At this stage only one thing seems certain: Māori are going to feel the brunt of this restructure, one way or another,” says Meka Whaitiri.