Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell welcomed the first reading of Te Ture Whenua Māori Bill in the House today.
Mr Flavell says the Bill aims to recognise and provide for the mana and tino rangatiratanga that Māori have always exercised over their lands, resources and taonga.
“To achieve that purpose will be one of the most important measures that Parliament will consider for Māori in our time,” Mr Flavell says.
The purpose of the Bill is to protect Māori land-owner rights to retain, control, occupy and develop their land as they see fit.
Mr Flavell says it will replace Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993, which was arguably one of the most ground breaking pieces of legislation in a generation.
“The 1993 Act shifted land legislation from one that assimilated and alienated Māori land to one that promoted its retention,” he says.
“However, numerous reviews of the 1993 legislation emphasise that it needs to be more enabling and protective, and it needs to give Māori land owners a clear and accountable governance framework. It also should include better dispute resolution support and options to overcome fragmentation.”
“The Bill I’m putting before the House today addresses those issues and responds to extensive input from the public, technical experts and the Bill’s Ministerial Advisory Group,” Mr Flavell says.