The Green Party calls on the Government to end perpetual leases over Māori land so that Māori landowners can directly control their lands.
“Māori landowners continue to be locked out of their own whenua by perpetual leases that allow others to control and profit from Māori reserve land,” says Dr Elizabeth Kerekere, the Green Party Māori Development Spokesperson.
“120 years ago, land reserved for Māori was leased to European settlers at the expense and serious disadvantage of those Māori landowners. The government took control of the land and leased it out for next to nothing, with the right to renew forever. They did this without the consent of the Māori landowners.
“This injustice continues today with leaseholders still paying well below market rate to lease land such as the Tuatini Township blocks in Tokomaru Bay. If Māori landowners want to regain control of their own land, they are forced to buy out the lease at full market rate.
“Perpetual leases are an outdated and unjust colonial weapon that was abolished in the United Kingdom over 100 years ago. In no other context would this be acceptable.
“The Government must put an end to perpetual leases. This would return control to the Māori landowners so they can use their lands for the benefit of their whānau, hapū and iwi as they wish. This could include continuing leases but under their terms.
“It is time to restore the tino rangatiratanga of Māori landowners and their right to control their own land by ending perpetual leases” says Dr Elizabeth Kerekere.