Government can't touch Maori act – Waitangi Tribunal

  • 07/12/2014

Any reform to an act which recognises Maori self-government should be led by Maori and not the Government otherwise it breaches their rights, the Waitangi Tribunal has found.

The tribunal today released its report into the way the Crown reviewed the Maori Community Development Act 1962 and its administration of the Maori wardens project.

The 1962 act gives statutory recognition and powers to Maori institutions for self-government.

In July 2009 the minister of Maori affairs began a review of the act and the Maori wardens project funded by the Ministry of Maori Development.

In September 2013 the New Zealand Maori Council and several district Maori councils challenged the Government's right to conduct the review.

They said any review of the act should be led by Maori, and anything less than that was a breach of the Treaty Waitangi.

The Ministry of Maori Development countered that its review did not have a fixed agenda and had a goal of assessing how provisions of the act could be updated to suit the changing needs of Maori communities.

The tribunal found the Crown's attempt to reform the act and the Maori wardens project breached the Treaty of Waitangi.

It says the Maori Council should be responsible for the review, while the Government should fund and support the review process.

Its 618-page report recommended the Government keep in mind how Maori self-determination should underpin all future administration, policy development and law reform in this area.

NZN

source: newshub archive