April 14, 2016
Tribunal silenced on land law reform
Waitangi claimants have been left fuming after Maori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell introduced the Ture Whenua Maori Bill shutting down any further opportunity for the Waitangi Tribunal to scrutinise the proposed reforms.
The tribunal started a judicial conference yesterday on whether it should grant urgency into a claim about the government’s response to last month’s tribunal report on the land law reform package.
Deputy Chief Judge Patrick Savage adjourned it for a day when lawyers for the crown said they could not say when the bill would be introduced.
Four hours later Mr Flavell tabled the bill in parliament, meaning the tribunal is barred from considering it.
Mr Flavell says he has addressed the issues raised in the Tribunal’s recommendations or will do so in the reform process.
He believes there is broad-based support for the Bill to be introduced.
Claimant Marise Lant says in fact there was huge opposition from Maori land owners at public information hui run by Te Puni Kokiri earlier this year, and Maori Land Court Judges have also raised concerns the bill could do the opposite of what it claims to be for.
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