29 May 2013

Review panel says it won't allow easy sale of Maori land

9:06 am on 29 May 2013

A member of the team reviewing Te Ture Whenua Maori Act says it will not allow Maori land to be sold off easily.

In May last year Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson appointed an independent team to propose new legislation and seek feedback from iwi about the Act, which has been in force for about 20 years.

To date, 14 consultation hui have taken place with tribes around the country, with more to come in the next fortnight.

A review panel member, Toko Kapea, who is a director for the Tuia Group, says some tribes have been very passionate, but they realise the panel has their best interests at heart.

He says the meetings have been positive with good attendance and plenty of robust conversations.

Mr Kapea says iwi have been quite emotional and have stressed that they don't want any more land taken.

He says some of the people at these meetings think the panel wants to help the government to take away their whenua, when that is not the case.

Toko Kapea says one of the key propositions the review panel has developed is that it will not change any of the alienation rules, which means it will still be very difficult to sell Maori land.

The review panel wants to keep the status quo for the retention of Maori land but free up the utilisation to allow Maori land owners to get on with it.

In the next two weeks the review panel will meet iwi in Hastings, Gisborne, Hamilton, Tauranga and Whangarei.

Written submissions on the discussion document and the propositions are due on 14 June.

The Government will consider its response in July.