Te Ture Whenua Bill must not proceed without broad and properly informed support following the critical report from the Waitangi Tribunal released today, the Green Party said.
“Te Ture Whenua Bill shouldn’t be introduced this month to Parliament until the concerns brought up by the Waitangi Tribunal and wider community are allayed,” Green Party Māori Development spokesperson Marama Davidson said.
“Māori land, and the rules that govern it, are too important to get wrong.
“The whole point of the Bill was supposed to be to address the underutilisation of Māori land, but the Government hasn’t done the work to establish what the key barriers to the use of Māori land are.
“We agree with the Waitangi Tribunal, that the Bill does not have the broad support of Māori in its current form.
“I have been hearing from Māori around the country who are concerned about what this Bill will mean for them and the retention of Māori land.
“This Bill will be replacing the Māori Land Court process, but Māori have not had an opportunity to see what it would be replaced with. There is not enough detail in the Bill for Māori to be able to give a properly informed opinion, or consent to this Bill.
“The relationship with the land is fundamental to Māori identity. Our tupuna have fought hard to maintain tino rangatiratanga over their whenua.
“Any change to the Governance of Māori land should be done with more care and consideration.
"Before it brings this Bill to the House, the Government needs to identify the real barriers to Māori land use, and ensure broad support from Māori,” Ms Davidson said.