Budget 2016: $17.8m for Maori land reform

By Paul McBeth

Maori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell has secured $17.8 million to get a new Maori land service up and running, and provide more assistance for property owners as part of his efforts to overhaul legislation governing Maori land.

Some $14.2 million will go to building a new Maori Land Service which will provide administrative services to Maori landowners and take over some functions from the Maori Land Court, Flavell said in a statement. A further $3.7 million will go Te Tumu Paeroa (the Maori Trustee) to help landowners improve their governance arrangements, a key goal of legislation aimed at getting better use out of collectively owned Maori land.

"This is about providing Maori land owners with a one-stop shop where they can access official information about their land and get practical support to make informed decisions about their whenua," Flavell said. "The initiative will promote land productivity and complements the current reform of the Te Ture Whenua Maori Act."

The overhaul of the Act attracted opposition in some quarters of Maoridom, who claimed there had been a lack of consultation during the process, and that the proposed changes didn't offer enough protections to smaller partners.

The Maori Party also won a $40 million funding boost for Whanau Ora to expand its offering, $4 million to provide microfinance to whanau, and $5 million to improve Maori electoral participation.

Flavell also announced $34.6 million was to be allocated to support Maori language initiatives.

- BusinessDesk

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