Māori landowners getting reprieve in supercity

By Stefan Dimitrof

Auckland Council wants to know what Māori land within the supercity's limits is being used for.

Councillor Angela Dalton for the Manurewa-Papakura Ward and the council's Māori portfolio lead, says the council needs to know which Māori land is underdeveloped or underutilised and that the concept of Māori land may need to be changed.

The council's new annual plan proposal includes changes to the treatment of Māori land. The council has to do that due to the changes in the Te Ture Whenua Act that 

  • Provide local authorities with the power to write off rates arrears and a statutory remission process for development;
  • Make unused Māori land, including land subject to Ngā Whenua Rāhui kawenata, unrateable;
  • Provide the option for separate rate accounts for multiple homes on Māori land (giving home owners access to the rates rebate scheme);
  • Provide the opportunity for local authorities to treat multiple blocks of Māori land as one block for rating purposes, provided they come from the same original block; and
  • Modernise the rating system affecting Māori land, including protecting Māori land arbitrarily reclassified as general land in the late 1960s and early 1970s from 'abandoned land sales', clarifying land trustees' obligations in respect of rates, and updating and clarifying the exemptions that apply to marae and urupā.