Labour has continued its attacks on Māori progress, with Associate Crown Māori Relations Minister Meka Whaitiri reasserting the Government’s paternalistic view that it knows what’s best for Māori, National’s Māori Development spokesperson Nuk Korako says.

“Ms Whaitiri has described the previous Government’s $5.2 million spending on investigating the establishment of a Māori Land Service as “arrogant” and “appalling”. The same might be said of her and her Government’s opposition to the Te Ture Whenua Māori Bill which would have lifted economic outcomes for so many Māori.

“The Government has said that it would be axed but hasn’t said what it would be replaced with. This is pure politics and another example of this Government’s obstructive approach to progress and Crown-Iwi relations.

“The Bill would have made it easier for Māori land owners to make decisions about how they wish to use their lands. But it appears Labour doesn’t trust Māori to make their own decisions.

“Even Ms Whaitiri’s colleagues recognise that the Bill would have unlocked huge economic and social potential. Just last week Shane Jones described the challenges he faces in planting 100 million trees a year, specifically referring to the challenges in utilising Māori land because of problems in getting the consent of land owners. This Bill would have helped to address that very problem.

“The trashing of the Te Ture Whenua Māori Bill and the subsequent attacks on spending to progress Māori development will do nothing to further progress for Māori. 

“There is a real danger that the progress Māori have made over the last ten years will stall if Labour continues to act like it alone knows what’s best for Māori. It’s time they trusted Māori to know what’s best for themselves.”

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