Topic: Land

Taihoa on Ture Whenua Māori Bill says Opposition

updated By Heeni Brown

Politicians now share the concerns by the Māori Land Court judges tabled in their submissions to the Māori Advisory Group about the proposed reforms to the Ture Whenua Māori Act.

Consultation is underway throughout the country. 

But proposed reforms to the Ture Whenua Māori Act are not being welcomed by all.

The Minister of Māori Development, Te Ururoa Flavell still believes the new act will make it easier for Māori landowners to better utilise their land. "There have been more than 100 consultation meetings  held throughout the country right now as we speak, and I want to continue following through what I have said.  I will be taking it to all of Māoridom so that they can decipher and pick at, so that it is for their wellbeing."

Consultation hui on the reforms of the Ture Whenua Māori Bill will be completed by the end of the month.

MĀORI LAND COURT CONCERNS:

Māori Land Court judges are concerned with the proposed reforms to the Ture Whenua Māori Act and Chief Judge Wilson Isaac and their submission to the Act can be found here;

https://secure.zeald.com/site/uma/files/TeTureWhenua.pdf

The submission states:

"We identify several high-level concerns about the Bill’s broader implications. Key initiatives in the Bill will undermine core property rights of Māori landowners, transfer a surprising level of authority over Māori land to Crown officials, and contravene fundamental elements of tikanga Māori. We question whether the Bill will in fact achieve the four key principles of the reform, being autonomy, utilisation, simplicity and safeguards. In fact, we consider that the Bill will hinder those aims, and that there is a high likelihood it will have unintended consequences for Māori land owners.

We have such fundamental concerns about the Bill that we believe that it should not proceed in..."

"We have such fundamental concerns about the Bill that we believe that it should not proceed in its current form. We conclude that the stated policy objectives could be better advanced either by way of a significant rewrite of the Bill or by way of targeted amendments to the current legislation."

MEKA WHAITIRI PETITION:

Proposed reforms to the Ture Whenua Maori Act are not being welcomed and Tairawhiti MP Meka Whaitiri has gone one step further with the launch of a petition against the Act.

She says, "I've put a petition out there asking Te Ururoa to taihoa (wait) because it's too bigger issue to rush through parliament that we should go back to the drawing board, I think for one you should change his advisors on his ministerial advisory group and include people that actually work the land or have issues around the multiplicity of land, people who have put up cases in the Māori Land Court, they're all missing from the group of advisors."

She has two key areas of concern:

One is the ability for land trusts to change freehold Māori land into general title,

Two is the Māori Land Court not having enough jurisdiction to continue protecting Māori Land.

Links to her petition can be found here:

http://mekawhaitiri.org.nz/2015/11/te-ture-whenua-bill-opposition/

TURE WHENUA MĀORI ACT:

Māori Development Minister still believes the new Ture Whenua Māori Act will make it easier for Māori land owners to better utilise their land.

Te Ururoa Flavell says:

"There have been more than 100 meetings (consultation) been held all throughout the country right now as we speak, and I want to continue following through what I have said, I will be taking it to all of Māoridom so that they can decifer [sic] and pick at, so that it is for their wellbeing."

The latest draft can be found here:

http://www.tpk.govt.nz/docs/tpk-20160128teturewhenuamaoribill1.pdf

WAITANGI TRIBUNAL FINDINGS:

Recent Waitangi Tribunal Report into claims concerning Proposed Reforms into Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993 state:

"We have found that the Crown will be in breach of Treaty principles if it does not

ensure that there is properly informed, broad-based support for the Te Ture

Whenua Maori Bill to proceed. Maori landowners, and Maori whanau, hapu, and

iwi generally, will be prejudiced if the 1993 Act is repealed against their wishes,

and without ensuring adequate and appropriate arrangements for all the matters

governed by that Act."

"As we understand the Crown's position, it does not in fact wish to proceed

without sufficient Maori support, but argues (a) that it has sufficient support, and

(b) that Treaty principles, rightly understood, do not restrain it in any case.

We disagree with both propositions, for the reasons given above."

"We recommend that the Crown avoids prejudice to Maori by further engagement

nationally with Maori landowners, through a process of hui and written

submissions, after reasonable steps have been taken to ensure that Maori

landowners are properly informed by the necessary empirical research, funded by

the Crown."

"If such a consultation shows broad Maori support for the Bill to proceed, then we

recommend further engagement with Maori stakeholders and leadership groups to

make any final refinements and revisions, with an agreed process for those

groups to consult their constituencies and confirm that broad support for the Bill

remains."

"If properly informed, broad-based support is not forthcoming, then we

recommend that the Crown follow the same process in order to determine

appropriate amendments to the current Act (as all parties appear to agree that at

least some significant amendments are required).

We also recommend that the Crown continue to take advice from independent

Maori experts, and to accord a leadership role to a representative advisory group

in its engagement with Maori."

The Report can be found here:

https://forms.justice.govt.nz/search/Documents/WT/wt_DOC_101113166/Initiation%2C%20Consultation%2C%20and%20Consent%20Pre-pub.pdf

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