Iwi Chairs' Forum call for Government to invest in Māori land

updated By Maiki Sherman
Iwi leaders - Photo / file

The Iwi Chairs' Forum is calling on the Government to invest in Māori land currently underperforming.

It's no secret there are huge potential within those lands but the problem is having the resources to harvest its fruits.

In New Zealand, there's around 1.5 million hectares of Māori land, 300,000 hectares of that is under full production, but 1.2 million is currently under performing.

The Iwi Chairs' Forum is calling on ministers to plant a financial seed.

Willie Te Aho says. “We're seeking $3 billion, that's in line with the report by MPI which says a $3 billion investment is necessary to bring the land up to full production.”

It’s clear there's differing views at present around financials.

However, according to a report by MPI last year, if a $3 billion investment was made into those lands, that would see an $8 billion output and almost 4000 jobs. 

The Iwi Chairs' Forum wants $1 billion from the Government to kick-start that productivity.

“Not going to sit here in front of you today and say here's x billion dollars.  I'm not authorised to do that.  What I can say is MPI is focused on working on the ground, facilitating discussions,” says Guy.

Te Aho explains it's difficult for multiple-owned Māori land to receive loans from the bank and the Government needs to step in.

Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell says changes to Te Ture Whenua Māori Act will ease that pressure.

Minister Flavell says, “The money will come and there's benefits to that but the first issue is dealing with the legislative problems which is like a noose around the development of Māori land.”

“The Government should certainly be investing money to support Māori development of its lands.  What's good for Māori is good for New Zealand,” says Kelvin Davis.

The Iwi Chairs' Forum has called for a meeting with the appropriate ministers, and time will show whether that seed will bear any fruit.