Government Not in RushMaori Affairs
The Minister of Maori Affairs, the Hon Tau Henare, today denied the Government was trying to "rush" through proposed legislative changes to Maori reserved lands.
"Since 1975 this matter has been the subject of intense political debate," he said.
"Since 1892 when legislation enforcing the perpetual leases came into being there have been numerous amendments to the various legislation - all favouring the lessees - and 10 commissions of inquiry.
"It's been an intense debate over the years and this Government's done extensive consultation to attain the views of all concerned.
"It's not something that just came out of the blue. Successive Governments have dragged their feet on this issue - we're taking a proactive view and ensuring the issues are addressed once and for all."
Mr Henare said the Maori Reserved Lands Amendment Bill sought to place lessees and owners on a commercial footing.
"I have nothing to fear. You can talk until the cows come home, but at the end of the day there's serious matters that need to be addressed and that's what we're doing," he said.