7 September 2016 MEDIA STATEMENT
Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell is negligent by refusing to engage with the Māori Land Court judges, who presented submissions on the Ture Whenua Bill at select committee today, Ikaroa-Rawhiti MP Meka Whaitiri says.
“Te Ururoa Flavell has acknowledged the Judges as experts in law but disagreed with their concerns, before admitting he hadn’t seen their submission.
“It’s outrageous that the Minister, as the architect of these reforms, hasn’t even read the submission of the judges who had major input into the original legislation.
“The Minister attempted to block the judges’ highly critical submission to the Waitangi Tribunal but failed.
“It’s unprecedented and unacceptable for a Minister of Māori Development to have such disregard for the Māori Land Court judges.
“The judges state the Bill is a failed attempt to reform Māori land law. They warn it is high-risk, undermines core property rights, doesn’t align with some tikanga Māori aspects and will have detrimental effects on Māori land and Māori land owners.
“For Te Ururoa Flavell to put his head in the sand just because he doesn’t like what they’re saying is unbecoming of a Māori Development Minister and proves that these reforms fall well beneath the robust legal approach they should be taking,” says Meka Whaitiri.