The Labour Party has thrown away six years of hard work and a real opportunity for Māori and regional New Zealand through scrapping the Te Ture Whenua Bill, Chris Finlayson says.

“This is yet another ill-thought through step from a Government which seems intent on taking New Zealand backwards.

“The Te Ture Whenua Bill would have made it easier to get more production from Māori land, creating jobs and boosting incomes in regional New Zealand and Māori households.

“It would also have given Māori greater determination over the use of that land.

“Hundreds of meetings and thousands of hours of work have gone into it because it would have been good for New Zealand.

“Scrapping it makes no sense and like so many of its decisions the Government hasn’t even given a good reason why – or been able to say what they’ll replace it with.

“For a Government which has claimed it would be good for Māori it’s yet to show it.

“Today’s announcement is on top of the Government’s ego-driven rubbishing of Māori leaders from the Iwi Chairs Forum which, for the past nine years, has had a productive and forward looking relationship with the Government.

“This Government’s increasingly antagonistic and paternal approach to these leaders and to Māori issues will only make it more difficult to tackle some of the challenging issues facing New Zealand and Māoridom, including fresh water rights.

“The Government needs to gets its act together and work with Māoridom, not against it.”

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