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Maori land bill introduced to parliament

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 14/04/2016

The bill that transforms Maori land ownership has been introduced to parliament, despite the Waitangi Tribunal saying it should be delayed.

Maori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell says the Ture Whenua Maori Bill has been through 17 drafts, more than 200 changes have been made to it and there's been widespread and lengthy consultation.

"I have introduced the bill to parliament today," he told reporters.

"I think it's as close to perfect as a bill can get."

The tribunal released a report on the bill last month, saying there was too much uncertainty about the land reforms and it shouldn't proceed.

The reforms replace the Maori Land Court process.

A Maori Land Service will provide an administrative framework, performing existing services and new responsibilities.

Mr Flavell says it gives Maori landowners greater autonomy over their land, while at the same time protecting it for future generations.

"They want more support to develop their land and they want to protect their land ... these fundamental concepts form the basis of this bill and the broader reform programme," he said.

Mr Flavell says he's confident there is broad support among Maori for the bill to be passed into law.

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