The disregard shown to the Waitangi Tribunal by the National-led Government and their support party the Maori Party is unacceptable and a warning sign of their desire to push through unpopular changes to laws governing Māori land, says Ikaroa-Rawhiti MP Meka Whaitiri.
“To have Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson dismiss findings as ‘bizarre’ is totally disingenuous and disrespectful. What’s bizarre is Maori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell stubbornly pushing through this Bill before the Waitangi Tribunal has even completed its report.
“The Waitangi Tribunal is right to say these reforms lack support. In the four consultation hui I attended with more than 400 people present there was no value seen in rewriting the Act.
“This is bad legislation. It has been strongly criticised by the Māori Land Court Judges. It side-lines the legislative independence and expertise of the Law Commission and puts our land at risk.
“As Attorney-General, I would expect Chris Finlayson to support my calls for a more robust legal approach to the review, including considering the views of the Māori Land Court judges, and the Law Commission who had major input into the original legislation.
“Labour will work to get the balance right between cultural and economic values so that land can be developed while protecting people’s rights and giving them a meaningful voice in decisions about their land. We will improve processes to more easily record and adjudicate the interests in fractionally owned Māori land,” says Meka Whaitiri.
Contact: Meka Whaitiri 021 226 0634