29 Jan 2013

Fire puts Maori landowners debt plan at risk

7:45 pm on 29 January 2013

A member of a Far North Maori business doubts they will be able to clear a $15 million debt.

Matauri X Incorporation is trying to sell some ancestral land in order to pay off debt which was brought about by a failed water bottling venture that attracted crippling interest payments.

But a shareholder in the incorporation, Dover Samuels, says the prospect of selling the coastal subdivisions has been damaged by a suspected arson attack on its sales office over the weekend.

He says more whenua will have to go if the debt is not paid off within two years.

Mr Samuels, a former MP, says it's a pie-in-the-sky idea to think the money will come from somewhere.

He says the cash will only come from selling sections of coastal customary land - but the marketing office blaze has put the pay back plan at risk.