Govt U-turn on Māori land confiscations a good first step

The Green Party is welcoming the Government’s announcement that it will now further protect Māori land from forced sale under the Public Works Act, following pressure from Māori and the Green Party.

Catherine Delahunty, Green Party spokesperson for Te Tiriti o Waitangi, has campaigned on this issue since 2015, putting the issue on the political agenda and pressuring Te Ururoa Flavell to acknowledge that this needs to be addressed.

“This announcement is a good first step. It will help ensure that the small amounts of land that remain in Māori ownership are protected for future generations,” said Ms Delahunty.

“This U-turn is a win for Māori communities. Less than 5 percent of land in Aotearoa that is still held in Māori customary and freehold ownership and so it needs to stay in Māori hands.

“I have been pressuring the Government to take action since my Public Works (Prohibition of Compulsory Acquisition of Māori Land) Amendment Bill was drawn from the Member’s Bill Ballot.

“While my Bill would have gone further and prohibited any confiscation of Māori land under the Public Works Act, this law change will make it harder to justify land acquisition.

“My Bill was inspired by Patricia Grace’s fight to save her land in Waikanae from forced sale for the Kāpiti Expressway. Just last month we submitted on this issue together at the Māori Affairs Select Committee.

“We took a petition around the country, which was signed by almost 5000 people, and at almost every consultation hui on the Government’s Te Ture Whenua Māori Bill people raised concerns about the impact of the Public Works Act,” said Ms Delahunty.

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