The Government's proposal to reform the legislative framework governing Māori land was advanced last month with the appointment of a Ministerial Advisory Group to progress the introduction of a new Māori land bill. The Group comprises Kingi Smiler (who will chair the Group), Matanuku Mahuika, Traci Houpapa, Spencer Webster, Linda Te Aho, Sacha McMeeking and Dr Tanira Kingi.
Underpinning the Government's proposed reform is the report, prepared by an expert review panel and released in April last year, recommending certain changes to Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993, outlined in our previous update.
The recommendations from that report are intended to increase economic and cultural benefits to Māori land owners (and their whānau, hapū and iwi). In support of this, a 2011 report prepared for the Ministry of Primary Industries suggested that improving the governance and management of Māori land could potentially increase output by NZ$8b and create up to 3,600 jobs over a decade, going some way in remedying the estimated 80% of Māori land that is thought to be 'under-performing' for its owners.
From a practical perspective, we note that the new legislation is being developed in consultation with the Minister of Land Information to ensure that any legislative changes are appropriately supported by and aligned to New Zealand's existing land title systems.