A bill to strengthen the protection of Māori land and stem fragmentation has today been drawn from the ballot, MP for Southland Joseph Mooney says.
“There are more than 27,000 blocks of Māori land under the present Te Ture Whenua Māori Act comprising of 1.4 million hectares, about 5 per cent of the total land mass of New Zealand.
“Large tracts of Māori land are under-performing for owners, largely due to constraints stemming from the current legislation. Fragmentation is getting worse, not better, and there are still thousands of owners who remain disconnected from their land.
“This law change seeks to improve the performance and productivity of Māori land, which will provide millions of dollars for the economic and cultural benefit of owners.
“The right of Māori land owners to retain, control, occupy and develop their whenua themselves as a taonga tuku iho for the benefit of present and future generation will be protected.
“The legislation is based on the fundamental principles that Māori land endures as taonga tuku iho by virtue of whakapapa, that tikanga Māori is central to matters involving Māori land, and that Te Tiriti o Waitangi is central to the application of laws affecting Māori land.
“Owners will finally be able to set rules making it harder to dispose of Māori land and will be able to design their own governance arrangements. The law will recognise the mana of decision making sits with the owners, not with the court.
“It’s time Māori are trusted to know what’s best for themselves.”
The Te Ture Whenua Māori Bill can be found here.
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