April 23, 2020
Expert advice smoothes progress of Whenua Maori Bill
The chair of the Māori affairs committee says taking a practical and incremental approach is paying off, with changes to Māori land law set to move through parliament.
Because of the COVID-19 lockdown, the committee has extended until May 17 submissions on a Bill changing the way rates are levied on Māori land, but if the committee meets when parliament sits next week it should be able to complete work on Te Ture Whenua Māori (Succession, Dispute Resolution, and Related Matters) Amendment Bill.
The Bills address issues which arose during the previous Government’s failed attempt to completely rewrite Māori land law, which sparked a huge backlash.
Rino Tirikatene says the process this time has been positive, with a large number of submissions coming from owners, land administrators, lawyers and the Māori Land Court itself.
"And they were excellent because this is their bread and butter, this is what they are passionate about and they were able to make some very helpful submissions so once we conclude out deliberations next week I'm confident we will be able to make further improvements to that bill," he says.
Mr Tirikatene says the Bill will make administration easier by streamlining routing applications and advances the Government’s policy around developing and unlocking whenua Māori.
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