The Māori Development Minister’s admission that his unpopular Ture Whenua Māori Bill won’t pass into law prior to the election is a victory for Māori landowners, but only a change of government will keep the Bill gone for good, says Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri.
“Te Ururoa Flavell has finally realised that when you’re in a hole, stop digging.
“The Māori Party have tried to rush this Bill through Parliament and force these reforms on Māori land owners without their informed consent.
“This has been a shambles from the outset, from the damning Waitangi Tribunal Report through to Treasury’s recent slamming of the proposed Māori Land Service.
“This has been the Māori Party’s flagship policy and a leadership test for Te Ururoa Flavell as Māori Development Minister; a test he has failed.
“This process has exposed a Minister who is out of his depth, and totally out of touch.
“He has shown contempt for the Waitangi Tribunal and disregard for the views of Māori landowners, legal experts and institutions.
“He’s seen the loss of centuries of institutional knowledge from the Māori Land Court because it suited his agenda.
“Te Ururoa Flavell has never been able to back up his claims of broad support, and even stooped so low as to call me a liar on television, then refuse to debate me on the substance of his own Bill.
“There are a lot of Māori landowners celebrating out there today, but the fight isn’t over.
“Only a change of government will ensure this Bill doesn’t see the light of day again.
“A Labour Government will scrap this Bill and ensure any further reforms are truly land owner-driven and align with the guidelines provided by the Waitangi Tribunal,” says Meka Whaitiri.