Legislation that would implement sweeping changes to the Maori land in New Zealand has created a huge division between the Maori Party and the Mana Movement.
The controversy surrounding the Te Ture Whenua Māori Bill involves significant changes to a supposedly heavy-laden bill. At 400 pages, Mana Party leader Hone Harawira finds it unacceptable that the parliament should just accept the proposed reforms based solely on one person’s opinion: Minister for Maori Development Te Ururoa Flavell.
Flavell touted the bill’s advantages, particularly to Maori property owners, yet Harawira claimed that the minister is unable to answer certain elements of the bill.
The Maori Land Service represents a main part of the bill, although information remains limited that indicates a ‘scary’ if the legislators continue to keep the public in the dark, according to Harawira. Unless Flavell and other officials from his ministry are able to explain the nature of the Maori Land Service, transparency will continue to be one of the glaring issues of the proposal.
In its website, however, the Ministry for Maori Development said that the land service will provide certain services to help in reaching a decision about the Whenua Māori, which is another integral part of the reform.
Rainey Collins Lawyers advises that property owners should consult a Maori land lawyer to seek further advice about the bill, particularly on the proposed land service agency. Flavell has argued that the bill’s three underlying principles are what makes it a viable and beneficial proposal.
Some of these benefits include landlords having more flexibility in using their properties and ensure that land parcels remain under the ownership of Maori citizens.
Transparency serves a crucial role in any regulatory or lawmaking process. The parliament should carefully review all available information and make sure that the public can easily access information to familiarise themselves on how the bill will affect their ownership of Maori land.