15 May 2008

Samoa land reform bill not in best interests of Samoan people, says academic

7:07 pm on 15 May 2008

A senior New Zealand university lecturer in Samoan studies says the government's land reform bill is not in the best interests of Samoan people.

The government proposes to introduce an official register of land holdings maintained by the state that guarantees title to those named on the register for public and freehold land only.

But Galumalemana Afeleti Hunkin at Victoria University in Wellington says the government is driven by an economic agenda to start individualising land titles.

He is appealing to members of parliament to consider all land in Samoa to be sacred and questions the finer details of the bill.

"Now I think basically its wrong for government to rush and try to pass this bill because it has this timetable of an economic nature. What legal requirements are there in the bill? Nobody's seen the bill and the government has put a hold onto it before people can look at it and investigate to see what is in it."

Galumalemana Afeleti Hunkin.

The bill is due to go before parliament for its third and final reading within the next two months.