February 12, 2020
Rate amnesty boom for far north iwi
A far north iwi leader says a move to scrap rates arrears on some classes of Māori land is a big step for Māori development.
Harry Burkhardt says a cheer went up in the whare when Local Government and Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced the planned law change.
He says it should lead to a change of mindset in whānau and hapū who have left their land undeveloped because of the fear any upside would be swallowed by rate arrears and penalties.
Ngāti Kuri is comfortable with paying rates on land with commercial potential, but it is fighting with Far North District Council over land returned in its treaty settlement which is underwater or has high cultural and conservation values.
“We’ve got to be able to take more of a circumspect view around how do we uncouple (land) from tauiwi constructs to be blunt and how do we use our epistemology or our world view to take it to the next level. That’s the bit, when our people engage with those stories, they get it,” he says.
Mr Burkhardt says the new rating policy combined with help from the Provincial Growth Fund opens up real opportunities for Māori owners.
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