Minister runs for cover on job losses

Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell’s refusal to show leadership and provide assurances over the future of the Māori Land Court is disappointing, given he is spearheading contentious Maori land reforms which will impact on the functions of the Court, says Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri.

“Te Ururoa Flavell has refused to address the proposed job losses at the Māori Land Court, saying this is nothing to do with his portfolio. Frankly, that’s a cop out. 

“The Minister has been pushing through a highly contentious Maori land reform agenda, and is currently holding wānanga on the proposed Māori Land Service, which seems likely to replace many functions of the Maori Land Court.

“His land reform agenda has been slammed widely, by the likes of the Waitangi Tribunal, the NZ Law Society, the Human Rights Commission and the majority of other submitters to select committee.

“One of the recurring complaints has been the lack of detail given on the shape, role and function of the proposed Māori Land Service. 

“The proposed job losses at the Māori Land Court is now casting light on just how negligent the Minister has been in providing information and assurances around these land reforms.

“It’s simply not good enough for a Minister of Māori Development, who is spearheading the most significant changes to Māori land laws for 23 years, to run for cover when serious questions about the future of the Maori Land Court need answering now.

“That’s not the leadership Māori need or expect when there is so much uncertainty around the future administration of Māori whenua,” says Meka Whaitiri.