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Labour vows to repeal Maori land bill

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 28/03/2017

Labour says opposition to the government's Te Ture Whenua Maori Bill is widespread, and it will repeal the legislation if it wins the election.

The bill rewrites the laws around Maori land ownership and has been controversial from the outset.

It's designed to ensure there are sufficient safeguards for the retention of Maori land while making it easier for owners to make decisions about how they want to use it.

The bill proposes replacing the Maori Land Court with a Maori Land Service.

Maori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell took it through 17 drafts and there were lengthy consultations with Maori through a series of hui before it reached the debating chamber.

It has passed its first and second readings and is due to come up for its committee stage in parliament.

Labour MP Meka Whaitiri says opposition to the bill is growing and Mr Flavell doesn't have a mandate to take it any further.

"The consultation process was botched because Maori land owners weren't given enough time to consider all the technical complexities and legal ramifications," she said on Tuesday.

"A Labour government will repeal the bill and work to protect and retain Maori land."

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