The Māori Development Minister needs to get real and admit he has not secured the broad-based support required to move ahead with the changes to Maori land laws, says Labour’s MP for Ikaroa-Rāwhiti Meka Whaitiri.
“Te Ururoa Flavell has said he attended about a third of the 20 consultation hui, and claimed they all indicated support for the proposed changes.
“Frankly, the Minister needs to get real.
“I attended half the hui and saw for myself how weak the consultation was, and what little support is out there.
“In Gisborne, the Minister was under so much pressure he reminded attendees that he has the numbers to pass the Bill through Parliament.
“At the Hastings hui, again under pressure, the Minister asked informally for support with only a handful obliging.
“To cap it off, the final hui in Tauranga took place inside an airport hangar. Questions from the floor were discouraged, no microphones were provided and we had to compete with ongoing noise from aircraft.
“The hui have fallen well short of the level of consultation Māori landowners deserved over such an important kaupapa.
“The overwhelming message has been clear: ‘Slow down – this is too complex an issue to rush, Māori need more time to digest the information and make an informed decision’.
“It’s time he started listening to what Māori landowners are saying, not just what he wants to hear,” says Meka Whaitiri.