5 February 2016 MEDIA STATEMENT
The Māori Development Minister’s decision to release a new version of Te Ture Whenua Māori Bill before the Waitangi Tribunal has prepared its report on whether the previous draft is in line with treaty principles shows a continuing disregard for process and a lack of respect for the Tribunal itself, says Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri.
“Te Ururoa Flavell has shown contempt for the Waitangi Tribunal by pre-emptively posting a new version of the Bill on the Te Puni Kokiri website – before the Tribunal have even released their report on the previous draft. It’s totally disrespectful of the correct process,” says Meka Whaitiri.
“In response, the Waitangi Tribunal released a memorandum on Wednesday twice expressing their ‘surprise’ at the actions of the Minister.
“Unfortunately, the Minister’s blunders no longer surprise me.
“Throughout this entire rushed review he has shown a disregard for proper process, including an outrageous and failed attempt on behalf of the Crown to block the Māori Land Court Judges’ highly detailed submission.
“Jumping the gun by posting a new version of the Bill before the Waitangi Tribunal have finished their report has forced them into today releasing a chapter critiquing the Crown’s process to date for the review of Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993, and the manner of consultation with Māori.
“It’s a disgrace that the day before Waitangi Day – and our national celebration of the founding document of New Zealand – the Waitangi Tribunal has been forced into this action.
“For months I have been urging Te Ururoa Flavell to adopt a more robust legal approach to investigating the proposed reforms, including considering the views of the Māori Land Court judges, and the Law Commission who had major input into the original legislation.
“This latest stuff-up shows he has no intention of doing this.
“It seems the Minister is determined to push through this unwanted legislation at the expense of his own credibility,” says Meka Whaitiri.