Green Party say returning stolen land to Māori 'right thing to do'

Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson.
Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson. Photo credit: Newshub

The owners of confiscated land would be forced to give mana whenua first right of refusal when they sell up under a new Green Party plan.

The Greens released a new discussion document on Monday titled Hoki Whenua Mai, which suggests the creation of a new law aimed at helping Māori get ownership of dispossessed land back.

"Returning land to tangata whenua is the right thing to do to address the ongoing injustice that Māori experience," Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson said.

"Nearly two centuries of land dispossession - much of which has been enabled by Crown policy - has caused an underlying, deep, foundational harm that Māori continue to experience to this day. 

"We see it in everything from the number of Māori constrained by poverty, to the harm that has been done to our natural world." 

The Greens said it's clear how the Crown should correct "past wrongs" - and that is by returning land to its rightful owners so "people and taiao be healed into the future".

"Hoki Whenua Mai proposes that the Government enable the Waitangi Tribunal to revise settlements and access to private land, establish a Hoki Whenua Mai fund, give mana whenua first right of refusal over raupatu land, and establish a registry for private landowners to give mana whenua first right of refusal should they sell," Davidson said.

"We acknowledge those who have dedicated their lives to seeing tangata whenua get their land back. We know more and more people, Māori and non-Māori, want to be part of the solution.

"We want to know what those people think of our ideas to transform the current power structures that maintain land ownership injustice."

The Greens said with the 50th anniversary of the Waitangi Tribunal approaching in 2025, new laws need to be established for Māori.

The Greens have suggested four ways to ensure the Treaty of Waitangi is honoured in full and the injustices caused by colonisation can be redressed.

  1. Conducting an inquiry into the full extent of the dispossession of whenua. 
  2. Revisiting Settlements to ensure adequacy of redress. 
  3. Additional redress at the level of hapū, whānau, Māori collectives, outside the Treaty Settlement process. 
  4. Enabling the return of whenua not owned by the Crown.