3 Dec 2013

Iwi fears it will be outbid for farms

7:58 pm on 3 December 2013

Bay of Plenty iwi Ngati Whakahemo fears it will be outbidded by foreign investors for its confiscated farmland near Pukehina Beach.

Iwi representatives are in Wellington trying to convince the Crown it has the right of first refusal of the dairy farms, which Landcorp will close tender for tomorrow.

Ngati Whakahemo says most of the land was confiscated by the Crown.

Runanga chair Mita Ririnui says it has offered to pay commercial market rates for its whenua but has been told to take its chances and bid.

He says the iwi, which is a successful dairy farmer in the region, says it if doesn't win the tender, there is a danger the land will be further alienated from the iwi and the community.

The Crown believes Ngati Whakahemo's claims were addressed in the Affiliates Te Arawa Claims Settlement but Mr Ririnui says they were wrongly included.

Meanwhile, Labour spokesperson for Maori Development Nanaia Mahuta says the move shows the Government is turning its back on doing business with iwi.

She says it's a double-standard that it assures New Zealanders "mum and dad'" investors will get a stake in State asset sales while government-owned Landcorp will not provide interest to local iwi.

It reinforces the Government's agenda which she says is to sell off assets for a quick dollar to overseas bidders.