May 14, 2015
Iwi strung along by Landcorp deputy
The chair of Bay of Plenty iwi Ngati Whakahemo is disappointed a Landcorp board member has been let off the hook for misleading his iwi about the sale of a dairy farm.
The Court of Appeal has overturned a High Court decision that held up the sale of the farm at Whaarere near Te Puke.
The court said the state owned enterprise was acting independently of ministers, so there is no way ministerial actions could be reviewed.
It also rejected that Landcorp's then deputy chair, Traci Houpapa, had acted in bad faith, a finding that would have legal consequences.
Instead the court said Ms Houpapa may have acted irrationally and untruthfully in her communications with the iwi.
Mita Ririnui says Ms Houpapa compromised the tender process by offering the iwi the prospect of making a late bid for the farm.
"That in our view was not only misleading but stalling for time. We entered into those discussions in good faith. We should have held back and filed to the court to injunct the sale. We didn't do that because we believed we were entering into good faith negotiations with the deputy chair of Landcorp and with the CEO of Landcorp. That wasn't the case. While we were talking, the sale was being signed up," he says.
Ngati Whakahemo will appeal the case to the Supreme Court.
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