Te Ture Whenua bill withdrawn – a victory for those who learn from history

By   /   July 11, 2017  /   2 Comments

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Alongside bribery, corruption and outright theft of Maori land, the forced payments of rates and dog taxes by local authorities in the past has left Maori dispossessed of land and economic development opportunities.

The potential for another round of capitalist theft of Maori land has activists up in arms and their pressure has won the day so far.

Maori activists are welcoming the withdrawal of Te Ture Whenua bill from parliament’s legislative programme till after the coming election.

The bill was brought forward by Maori Affairs Minister and Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell to make it easier for development of Maori land away from the “paternalism” of the Maori Land Court.

Despite widespread criticism of the bill from throughout the Maori world, Flavell was determined to press ahead because he has the backing of iwi elites.

So confident was Flavell that the bill would be passed in the few weeks before the election that he told officials to go ahead with the disestablishing and restructuring of jobs in the bureaucracy which would be required if the bill was passed.

Flavell now has a mess of his own making to clean up.

The previous Te Ture Whenua Act 1994 established two important principles: to ensure Maori land could not be further alienated from Maori ownership and secondly to assist the development of the land in ways directed by Maori.

It’s generally agreed the legislation has worked well on the first point but has not enabled the development of Maori land to the extent hapu and iwi would like as per “tino rangatiratanga” under Article Two of the Treaty of Waitangi. Criticism has sometimes been aimed at the Maori Land Court which it has been argued takes a paternalistic attitude to local desires to develop land.

The problem with Flavell’s new legislation is that while iwi elites are happy with greater power and control over their land, the legislation would make it easier for the land to be lost.

Maori have seen too many instances in the past when “development” of land via partnerships with Pakeha and Maori capitalists has resulted in the loss of the land to pay bad debts heaped on Maori landowners.

Alongside bribery, corruption and outright theft of Maori land, the forced payments of rates and dog taxes by local authorities in the past has left Maori dispossessed of land and economic development opportunities.

The potential for another round of capitalist theft of Maori land has activists up in arms and their pressure has won the day so far.

It’s a victory worth celebrating.

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2 Comments

  1. Michal says:

    I’ll drink to that , nice to see Flavell in a pickle!

  2. bert says:

    It is a sad indictment of N.Z politics that we have race based parties separating society.

    The Maori Party( Maori)
    The People’s Party(Asians and Indian community)
    Act( The Master Race)

    At one point, all those living or wishing to live in N.Z. were all New Zealanders.

    These parties rise to do one thing and one thing alone, benefit themselves, not ALL New Zealanders.