27 Aug 2002

Fiji's NLTB wants to challenge ALTA

6:08 am on 27 August 2002

Fiji's Native Land Trust Board wants to challenge the legality of the Agricultural Landlord and Tenant Act, or ALTA - the law under which all farm leases have been governed for the last 25 years.

The NLTB's general manager, Kalivati Bakani, says they are seeking a court order and legal advice on the matter.

Mr Bakani says the NLTB believes the ALTA legislation contravenes the 1997 constitution abd does not protect the rights of indigenous landowners.

He says the board wants indigenous-owned land to be removed from the ALTA legislation and placed under the Native Land Act.

He says since it may not be possible to get sufficient support in parliament to make the change, the NLTB wants to explore the possibility of taking the matter to court and obtaining an order.

The ALTA law was brought in by the Mara government in 1976 and gave two ten-year extensions to farm leases which were then expiring and also fixed the annual rent formula at 6 percent of the unimproved capital value of the land.