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Call for reform of the Public Works Act“ a cessation to the open theft of land: National Maori Authority
Port Taranaki | Photo by Kura M Ratapu

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Call for reform of the Public Works Act - a cessation to the open theft of land: National Maori Authority

The Chair of the National Maori Authority, Matthew Tukaki, has called for far reaching reform and change when it comes to the Public Works Act and the drivers that have seen a significant amount of Maori land compulsorily taken over many decades. Tukaki has also called for the immediate appointment of a joint Maori Land Commissioner at Land Information New Zealand where he has questioned if the organisation properly understands Maori rights and interests and are abiding by the Principle of the Treaty of Waitangi.

“Everywhere I go across the country the same issue keeps on coming up and that is the Public Works Act and the taking of Maori Land. The system is not only broken it is fundamentally flawed in so far as it nullifies the opportunity of the original owners, many of them descendants of Maori, to have their land fairly and affordably returned. The practice of inequity must stop.” Tukaki said

“The other thing that must stop is the land banking of properties where the original owner was either an individual Maori or Maori whanau for the purposes of being used later on for Treaty Settlements. Taking land under the Public Works Act, making it unaffordable for it to then be re-bought by either the original owner or their descendants is the raupatu of lands not just once but twice – that practice must end.”

“The other reality we are not convinced that Land Information New Zealand and the Lands Commissioner have the best interests of Maori, the original land owners and descendants at heart. Need I remind of the behaviour of some former Land Commissioners such as the one involved in the stand off at Bastion Point many decades ago – to protect Maori interests I am calling on the Government to immediately appoint a Maori Lands Commissioner.” Said Tukaki

“And while we are having this conversation the Ministry of Transport have some questions to answer on their Maori strategy, the absence of Maori in both the executive management and governance ranks – as one of the largest users both historically and in the present of the Public Works Act it is unfathomable to me that it appears there is more brown box ticking going on that actual partnership.” Tukaki said

From Wellington to Mt Maunganui, from Te Awamutu to Auckland and right across the country – Tukaki has said that there are not just one two problem pockets they are everywhere:

“And let me be clear – this should be of concern for all New Zealanders, not just Maori, who have had land ripped away from them over generations only to find it sold to the highest property developer for a bit of coin.” Tukaki said

Tukaki has not ruled out the National Maori Authority taking a significant claim to the Waitangi Tribunal and even considering contesting some cases in other Courts.

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