Māori landowners are being misled by Government hui being held throughout the country promoting the troubled Māori Land Service (MLS), which underpins the Crown’s unpopular Ture Whenua reforms, says Labour’s Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri.
“I’m concerned Māori landowners are being misled at these hui, in several significant ways. Firstly, landowners are not being given the broader context that the MLS underpins the Crown’s stalled Te Ture Whenua Māori Bill.
“Te Ururoa Flavell ignored expert advice and rushed his flagship Bill before the election, severely underestimating the widespread confusion, concern and opposition from Māori landowners, incorporations, academics, legal experts and the Waitangi Tribunal.
“Secondly, landowners are being sold on the disingenuous notion that iwi authorities will help them develop a truly independent land service.
“The concept of an independent land service sounds great to our people. But the reality is that this massive scale project is doomed to fail unless properly resourced by the Crown.
“Lastly, I doubt landowners at these hui are being told that Treasury recently slammed the delivery of the MLS project, giving it a ‘red’ rating, and identifying major concerns about implementation, transition planning, new technology design and timeframes.
“Treasury also said there was no investment proposal or suitable business case ready to support Budget 2017 decisions.
“The entire programme of hui is premature, inappropriate and a further waste of resource when the MLS is in such a state of shambles and the success of the Bill hinges on the election going the Māori Party’s way.
“I’m not opposed to a Māori land service, but land owners must be given a quality service which has been well-developed and well-resourced; this is clearly not happening under Te Ururoa Flavell’s leadership,” says Meka Whaitiri