November 12, 2015
No evidence of support for land law reform
The president of the Maori Women’s Welfare League can see no evidence Maori are crying out for reform of Maori land law.
Prue Kapua gave evidence yesterday to the Waitangi Tribunal on a claim challenging the way the Government is developing a new Te Ture Whenua Maori Bill.
She says Maori are being told the current law isn’t working, but the crown has no evidence or analysis to back that up
The 1993 Te Ture Whenua Maori was a significant reform that recognized the relationship of Maori to their land and made retention of whenua the overriding priority.
"Crown witnesses are now saying by 1995 Maori were calling for reform. That's just nonsense, two years out from the Act. It's taken us a long time to know what we can do under that Act, to use it properly, and now we get a whole new system, we get whole new terms, we get whole new trust strucutres that we are going to be asked to comply with," Ms Kapua says.
She says the reform process seems to have started within crown agencies like the Ministry for Primary Industries and Te Puni Kokiri, based on an unproven belief that Maori land could be made more productive to boost the Government’s economic goals.
The Government needs to take a step back and go through a proper process of assessing what changes are needed to the current Te Ture Whenua Maori Act.
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