Reserved Lands Report Welcomed

  • Tau Henare
Maori Affairs

The Minister of Maori Affairs, the Hon Tau Henare, today welcomed the recommendations on the Maori Reserved Land Amendment Bill by Parliament's Justice and Law Reform select committee.

"Increasing the compensation period for the move to market rents on leased land from 21 years to 50 years, paying $4 million to landowners and lessees for increased transaction costs and establishing a lease purchase fund of $6 million are good recommendations and will be adopted by the Government," said Mr Henare.

"The changes increase the size of the total compensation package from $48 million to $66 million. This will be paid out within three months of the implementation date of the legislation and will be tax free."

The first two changes mirror recommendations made by the Calvert Committee - made up two farmers - one a valuer - and the Professor of Valuation at Lincoln University - last year. They also meet the concerns of the major lessee group set out in their submissions to Government in 1995.

"The changes demonstrate the value of extensive consultation undertaken by the select committee and the Government. We were determined not to repeat the past history of this matter where successive Governments and lessees acting together had progressively reduced the rights of the owners of Maori Reserved Land without consent or adequate consultation.

"We were determined that both sides would be able to present their concerns in exhaustive detail and the Government's proposals be subjected to extensive public and expert scrutiny.

"The legislation can now be seen to be fair to both owners and lessees for the first time since the leases were imposed last century. They will, for the first time, be in a normal commercial relationship," said Mr Henare.

"The uncertainty that has surrounded the status of the leases since the Sheehan Report of 1975 will be removed and orderly sales and other transfers of leases can continue."