February 18, 2015
Advisory Group appointed to progress Maori land bill
The chair of the annual Ahuwhenua contest to find the best Maori farmers has been appointed to a group advising Maori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell on the rewrite of Maori land law.
Kingi Smiler also heads the Wairarapa Moana Incorporation.
Mr Flavell says he wants the bill, which is due to be introduced later this year, to be informed by the practical experience of people involved closely with Maori land matters.
Other members of the advisory panel include Federation of Maori Authorities chair Traci Houpapa, lawyer Matanuku Mahuika, who led the panel which reviewed the 1993 Te Ture Whenua Maori Act, Maori Law Society co-president Spencer Webster, fellow lawyers Linda Te Aho and Sacha McMeeking, and agricultural economist Dr Tanira Kingi.
Mr Flavell says about 80 percent of the 1.4 million hectares of Maori land is considered under-utilised and the current legislation is regarded as a major barrier to its optimum use.
He says the aim of the legislative rewrite, which is being driven by associate minister Christopher Finlayson, is to create a streamlined land administration system that puts the Maori landowner first.
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