Wellington, May 30, 2017
The measly figure allocated to the troubled Te Ture Whenua Maori reforms in Budget 2017 are a sign the reforms are a low priority for the Government and will leave many Maori land owners in limbo.
The National Government showed how much they value Maori by only allocating us 1% of this election year ‘catch-up’ Budget.
That has put the Maori Development Minister in an awkward position because now he has only got peanuts to throw at his pet project, Te Ture Whenua Maori reforms.
Not new money
Since the Budget, the Minister’s been trumpeting big financial benefits for the Maori Land Service (MLS) but it is not new money.
This year, Te Ture Whenua Maori reforms received the paltry sum of less than $2 million in new money.
The reforms hinge on the MLS as the Minister has been promising land owners that it will answer their calls for easier decision making and expert advice.
How can land owners know this when we still haven’t seen a business case, or a transitional implementation plan, or real targets and we don’t know what type of structure the MLS will take?
After nine years of National and the Maori Party, Maori remain overrepresented in bad statistics for health, home ownership and education standards.
The pitiful slice of the pie given to Vote Maori Development and Te Ture Whenua reforms confirms the Minister is okay with Maori just getting the crumbs.
All this leaves Maori land owners feeling uncertain and confused around the future of their whenua.
Meka Whaitiri is Member of Parliament representing Ikaroa-Rawhiti and Labour Party’s Spokesperson for Economic Development (including Social Development).