The Waitangi Tribunal’s rejection of the Crown’s attempt to prevent a highly critical submission from Maori Land Court judges on a proposed new Maori land law was the only credible decision, says Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri.
“The Waitangi Tribunal will hold a hearing next week to consider whether some of the proposed reforms in the draft Te Ture Whenua Maori Bill breach the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi.
“I applaud the Tribunal’s decision today to reject the absolutely outrageous attempt by the Minister of Maori Development on behalf of the Crown to block the Maori Land Court Judges’ highly detailed submission.
“The submission has been publicly available for several weeks. To then preclude the judges’ views from the official record is just absurd.
“This is an embarrassing stuff-up for Te Ururoa Flavell and just shows how out of his depth he is.
“Does he think he’s more experienced than the Maori Land Court Judges? The Minister’s refusal to engage with the judges is farcical.
“Our whenua defines us. It’s who we are. It took 17 years to produce the original Te Ture Whenua Maori Act 1993. That shows the complexity and the consideration required if you are going to attempt major changes to Maori whenua.
“If the Minister’s bill is to retain any credibility he must embrace a more robust legal approach to investigating the proposed reforms. He should consider the views of the Maori Land Court judges, and the Law Commission who had major input into the original legislation,” says Meka Whaitiri.