Failure of Maori land bill ‘victory for landowners’: Whaitiri

'Mr Flavell has finally realised that when you’re in a hole, stop digging.'

'Mr Flavell has finally realised that when you’re in a hole, stop digging.'

File picture

IKAROA-Rawhiti MP Meka Whaitiri says the admission of Maori development minister Te Ururoa Flavell that the Te Ture Whenua Maori Bill will not pass into law before the election is a victory for Maori landowners.

But only a change of government would keep the bill “gone for good”, the Labour MP said.

“Mr Flavell has finally realised that when you’re in a hole, stop digging. The Maori Party have tried to rush this bill through Parliament and force these reforms on Maori landowners without their informed consent.”

Ms Whaitiri said the bill had been a “shambles from the outset”, from the damning Waitangi Tribunal Report through to Treasury’s recent slamming of the proposed Maori Land Service.

But Marama Fox, the Maori Party’s other co-leader, a list MP also standing in Ikaroa-Rawhiti, defended the bill when she opened her election campaign in Gisborne.

The bill was part of the party’s plan to return “real power” and decision-making ability to Maori.

“It does not put your land at risk.”

Mrs Fox said any land taken under the Public Works Act had to be given back to Maori if it was not being used.

“Every rail track in this country was given and taken under the Public Works Act.”

The party’s “iwi rail’’ policy was due to be launched on Wednesday and would explain the party’s regional development approach.

“We will bring the tracks back to us, run them and put in more resources.”

Ms Whaitiri said the bill had been the Maori Party’s flagship policy and a leadership test for Mr Flavell as Maori development minister.

“This is a test he has failed. He has shown contempt for the Waitangi Tribunal and disregard for the views of Maori landowners, legal experts and institutions.

“There are a lot of Maori landowners celebrating out there today but the fight isn’t over. Only a change of government will ensure this Bill doesn’t see the light of day again.

“A Labour Government will scrap this bill and ensure any further reforms are truly landowner-driven and aligned with the guidelines provided by the Waitangi Tribunal,” Ms Whaitiri said.

IKAROA-Rawhiti MP Meka Whaitiri says the admission of Maori development minister Te Ururoa Flavell that the Te Ture Whenua Maori Bill will not pass into law before the election is a victory for Maori landowners.

But only a change of government would keep the bill “gone for good”, the Labour MP said.

“Mr Flavell has finally realised that when you’re in a hole, stop digging. The Maori Party have tried to rush this bill through Parliament and force these reforms on Maori landowners without their informed consent.”

Ms Whaitiri said the bill had been a “shambles from the outset”, from the damning Waitangi Tribunal Report through to Treasury’s recent slamming of the proposed Maori Land Service.

But Marama Fox, the Maori Party’s other co-leader, a list MP also standing in Ikaroa-Rawhiti, defended the bill when she opened her election campaign in Gisborne.

The bill was part of the party’s plan to return “real power” and decision-making ability to Maori.

“It does not put your land at risk.”

Mrs Fox said any land taken under the Public Works Act had to be given back to Maori if it was not being used.

“Every rail track in this country was given and taken under the Public Works Act.”

The party’s “iwi rail’’ policy was due to be launched on Wednesday and would explain the party’s regional development approach.

“We will bring the tracks back to us, run them and put in more resources.”

Ms Whaitiri said the bill had been the Maori Party’s flagship policy and a leadership test for Mr Flavell as Maori development minister.

“This is a test he has failed. He has shown contempt for the Waitangi Tribunal and disregard for the views of Maori landowners, legal experts and institutions.

“There are a lot of Maori landowners celebrating out there today but the fight isn’t over. Only a change of government will ensure this Bill doesn’t see the light of day again.

“A Labour Government will scrap this bill and ensure any further reforms are truly landowner-driven and aligned with the guidelines provided by the Waitangi Tribunal,” Ms Whaitiri said.

The Bill aims to address three key principles involving 27,000 Maori freehold land titles:

  • greater autonomy,
  • greater ability to use the land, and
  • protection of its ownership.

The creation of a Maori Land Service is intended to facilitate those principles. There is no detail on the proposed land service.

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Te Taru White - 5 months ago
This is rich coming from Meka Whaitiri. Te Ururoa showed true mana and integrity by not invoking parliamentary urgency, which he was entitled to do and had the numbers to get it through. The last time I recall when urgency was invoked was when the Labour Party pushed the foreshore and seabed through under urgency and, in the space of a day, undertook the biggest land grab and confiscation in history. The only good thing that came of that is that the Maori Party was born. As for Marama's comments, real runs on the ground by someone who has a real heart for our people and ready to back it up with action - not just hot air - and a track record to go with it !

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