Te Ururoa Flavell must front up on job losses at Māori Land Court

Minster for Māori Development Te Ururoa Flavell must front up to Māori on what his intentions are for the role of the Māori Land Court in his controversial Te Ture Whenua Māori reform agenda, in light of the Ministry of Justice’s proposal to cut over 35 jobs at the Court, the Green Party said today. 

Minster for Māori Development Te Ururoa Flavell must front up to Māori on what his intentions are for the role of the Māori Land Court in his controversial Te Ture Whenua Māori reform agenda, in light of the Ministry of Justice’s proposal to cut over 35 jobs at the Court, the Green Party said today.

“We need a clear answer from Minister Flavell on whether significant job losses at the Māori Land Court are part of his Te Ture Whenua Māori reforms, what role he and his officials have played in the proposal and what consultation, if any, has been undertaken with Māori,” said Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei.

“It appears that the Māori Land Court is being undermined and hollowed out in advance of the Government implementing their Māori land reforms, which would likely change the Court’s structures significantly.

“The Ministry of Justice should not be radically changing the Māori Land Court until there is certainty on what the proposed new framework will look like, so that Māori landowners can have confidence in the system.

“Indications are that the proposed Māori Land Service would replace core functions of the Māori Land Court, but to date there has been no certainty on what either the new land service or the reformed land court would look like.

“The importance of the institutional knowledge within the Court’s staff has long been identified by landowners as a vital resource that needed to be maintained in any reform, but this proposal would see the loss of significant amounts of experience and knowledge.

“The Minister needs to come clean and communicate to Māori about how these job losses fit within the overall Te Ture Whenua Māori reforms, and how their land will continue to be protected as taonga tuku iho for the benefit of future generations.

“This is another example of how the Government’s Māori land reform agenda is completely dysfunctional. Day by day Māori landowners are being given more reasons to be concerned with the impact that the reforms will have on their land,” said Ms Turei.

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