15 March 2017 MEDIA STATEMENT
The Māori Party have lost all credibility with their support for National’s unpopular Resource Legislation Amendment Bill (RLA) which will undermine local democracy, damage regional economies and do nothing to help Māori in to desperately needed housing, says Labour’s Local Government spokesperson Meka Whaitiri.
“The RLA Bill passed its second reading last night 61-59. The Māori Party voted for it.
“This Bill introduces sweeping new powers to knock out GM rules in local plans and the Māori Party’s support is a blow to our local councils and regional economies.
“Here in Hawke’s Bay and our other GM free growing regions, food exporters are striving to have New Zealand placed as a global seller of high-value goods and our GM-free reputation is crucial to that.
“Attempting to pass off minor concessions over Iwi participation rights as a win just doesn’t cut it.
“As a former chief executive of Ngāti Kahungunu, our third largest iwi, I support council to Iwi partnerships; however there are at least 123 iwi and hapū who already have co-governance arrangements in existence.
“The Māori Party still claim a GE Free stance then vote for this bill.
“To say they’ll win further concessions at the committee stage is a cop-out and misleading.
“They made this deal with National back in November; if they haven’t negotiated the removal of the S360D powers by now, they never will.
“In a housing crisis disproportionately affecting Māori, the Māori Party have voted for a Bill that adds complexity to the Resource Management Act and makes it harder to get things done.
“Labour supports the current ability for councils to back their own local economies and make plan rules regarding GM,” says Meka Whaitiri.