After an exhaustive two year consultation process, and a Waitangi Tribunal hearing, the controversial Ture Whenua Bill was introduced in Parliament on Wednesday.
It’s the first critical step to enacting measures the Minister of Māori Development said would protect and make better use of Māori land.
However, Labour said there were a few areas of the bill that needed tightening up.
It’s been a long journey but Te Ururoa Flavell said he is happy that the Bill gets its first reading in the House.
“Kei te harikoa ka tae atu tēnei pire ki mua i te aroaro o te Whare Pāremata ki reira tohetohengia ai. Ko te whakaaro, āe, ka pāhi te wahanga tuatahi. He ara tāpokopoko kua whāia, ēngari kua eke ki te taumata e tika ana nā te āhuatanga o te kawe haere i te kaupapa i te mata o te whenua.
“He rā nui tēnei. Kei te titiro ki te whakapanoni i tētahi ture kua roa e noho tārewa ana.”
There are three aims of the Bill but retaining self-control of Māori land is one of them, Mr Flavell said.
“Ko te mana motuhake e kōrerohia ana, arā, kia tāea e ngā mea e whai pānga ana ki te whenua, te whakahaere i te whenua e ai ki tā rātou e pīrangi nei. Ka rua, ko te whakawhanake, arā, kia tāea e rātou te kī atu: me pēnei, me pērā ki te āhuatanga o te whenua, i te mea i ngā tau kua hipa ake, kua āhua herea te kakī kia kore e tāea e rātou te whai i ngā kaupapa e wawatatia ana.”
But Labour’s Hauraki-Waikato MP Nanaia Mahuta said her party won’t be supporting the first reading of the bill.
“Nā runga i ētahi o ngā āwangawanga e pā ana ki ngā wahanga hei haumaru, me kī, i ngā whenua Māori me ngā āhuatanga mō ngā mahi whakahaere o ngā rōpu, ngā tarati - ki tā mātou nei titiro he āwangawanga tonu mō ngā wahanga e pā ana ki ērā.”
The bill should pass its first reading with support of the Māori Party and National, Ms Mahuta said.
“E kaha ana te tautoko a te Pāti Māori me Nahinara. Nō reira i runga i tērā, tērā pea ko tō mātou nei pānui ki a rātou e noho āwangawanga tonu, tukuna mai ō rātou petihana ki mua i te aroaro o te kōmiti whiriwhiri Māori mā mātou hei tino whakaarohia ki aua āwangawanga.”
According to the Waitangi Tribunal report it recommends that the Crown collaborate with Māori on the development of the proposed Māori Land Service.