Whaitiri: Landowners not at the heart of Te Ture Whenua Māori

By Aroha Treacher
  • North Island: East Coast

Labour MP Meka Whaitiri for Ikaroa Rāwhiti has held a number of hui in her electorate to discuss concerns around Te Ture Whenua Māori Reform Bill and says land owners are not at the heart of the changes. 

She says it's a bill that nobody wants, "What I've always challenged the Minister on is not that he's had consultation hui it's whether he has listened to what the people have said at those hui."

"At the hui in Ikaroa Rāwhiti people were actually forced to move a motion for the bill not to proceed, it's never been reported back in parliament that he does not have the broad base support that the Waitangi Tribunal said he must have if he's going to proceed with this bill."

But Te Ururoa Flavell disagrees with Whaitiri and says the bill is designed to keep land in Māori hands while encouraging land development as well.

He says Māori have engaged in Te Ture Whenua Māori and that it's been six years in the making and over the last three years, 3000 people have attended more than 170 meetings around the country, it's been a long journey.

Whaitiri held the last of her public meetings in the Ikaroa Rāwhiti electorate last night in Hastings, an opportunity for people to discuss any concerns they may have.

She says concerns have been raised around clauses 47 & 51 which are to do with the rights of owners and the decision making processes.

"What they have been kept out of is the actual detail of the bill and the detail of the bill in my public hui none of them knew about it, in fact, the feedback is "it does what?" That's not what we were told the bill was about."

However, the minister encourages people to take the time to read through the bill and says government support and funding will be made available for land development opportunities.