Minister unveils final draft of Ture Whenua Māori Bill before third reading

By Heta Gardiner

The Minister of Māori Development Te Ururoa Flavell has unveiled some of the final changes to the Ture Whenua Māori Bill which is expected to become law next month. 

The minister outlined some of the changes made to the bill which includes non-rating of some papakāinga Housing and ensuring that changes to the offer back process in the Public Works Act will mean more former Māori land can be returned to Māori ownership if it becomes surplus. The minister said

“Taonga Tuku iho will enhance protections to ensure that the remaining Māori land stays in Māori hands.”

This bill has stirred controversy from the outset with the Māori Women’s Welfare League and judges among those who opposed the bill. More recently Hone Harawira labelled the bill a “poisonous and destructive cancer” and Labour says it will repeal the bill if it takes control of government after the election.

However, Flavell is adamant the bill had addressed all the major issues in the select committee stage and made the announcement next to Willie Te Aho who gave the bill a glowing endorsement on behalf of the Iwi Chairs Forum.

The Minister, frustrated with the continued attacks on the bill pointed the finger at his political opponents saying they “Need to stop playing politics with our land.”

Heta Gardiner will have more on Te Kāea at 6:30pm.