May 12, 2016
Bill a grab for Maori land – Whaitiri
Labour MP Meka Whaitiri is urging Maori to make submissions of Te Ture Whenua Maori Bill to stop a corporate land grab.
The 400 page rewrite of Maori land law had its first reading this week and was referred to select committee.
Maori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell says the bill will protect the rights of Maori owners to retain, control, occupy and develop their land as they see fit.
But Ms Whaitiri says the principle of helping Maori retain their land will be replaced one of ensuring the land becomes available for development, in a way that will shut out many owners.
She says Mr Flavell is not listening to owner concerns.
"We’ve got this machinery of government, the Maori Party with National Party spin doctors. They've got the resources at their beck and call to actually present I think a very distorted picture of what this Bill will do. It's just an absolute land grab by the corporate elite to get their hands on Maori freehold land," she says.
Meka Whaitiri says areas Labour will attempt to change include the weakening of the retention principle and the bill’s use of Maori words that don’t have clear legal definitions.
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