$17.8m to support Māori landowners

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Landowners of Māori freehold land will benefit from two announcements in this year's Budget.

Budget 2016 provides $14.2 million for the development of the Māori Land Service (MLS).

Māori Party Co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell who is leading the Ture Whenua Māori reforms says the MLS is a critical element of the Ture Whenua Māori Bill which passed its first reading in Parliament earlier this month.

"The MLS will provide Māori landowners with practical advice and a range of services to help them better govern, manage and utilise their land.

"Officials will engage with Māori landowners this year to finalise the design of the MLS to ensure its fit-for-purpose. 

Te Tumu Paeroa who are the largest service provider to Māori landowners will receive an extra $3.6 million over the next four years to help Māori landowners get the most out of their land.

Māori Party Co-leader Marama Fox says, "This additional funding will help Te Tumu Paeroa assist landowners to be more involved in the management and use of their land".

"Both these announcements complement the Ture Whenua Māori Reform; both are focused on the effective use and retention of whenua Māori for our mokopuna," she says.

This year's Budget gains for Whenua build on the gains the Māori Party secured last year through $13 million for the Whenua Māori Fund to help Māori landowners investigate options and barriers to better utilising their land.

Note on Māori freehold land: Māori freehold land is collectively-owned land that is held in Māori ownership and subject to Māori land law. Around 5.5 per cent of all land in New Zealand is Māori freehold land. This whenua is concentrated in Northland, Bay of Plenty, East Coast and the Horowhenua-Manawatū regions.