MP questions rumoured job cuts at Māori Land Court

By Heta Gardiner

Labour MP Meka Whaitiri says job losses at the Māori Land Court means Māori landowners will now face losing hundreds of years of collective institutional knowledge.

The Ministry of Justice is proposing to cut 165 jobs and create 114 new positions, resulting in a net job loss of 51 positions.

The Ministry oversees the Māori Land Court where more than 30 jobs could be disestablished under the proposal.

Whaitiri says, “It's just wrong that people who have institutional knowledge of the role of the Māori Land Court eg these managers across the country that their jobs are on the line.”

Any potential job losses are a part of a wider review being undertaken by the Ministry of Justice which stressed it's still in a consultation stage.

But Whaitiri says implementing such major changes when the Ture Whenua Māori Bill isn't even finalised is premature.

“We haven't got the legislation through. It's as simple as that. Parts of the legislation will determine what roles will remain at the Māori Land Court and what roles will go to the supposedly new Māori Land Service. It has not completed the examination from the Māori Affairs Select Committee.”

Annette Sykes has worked for many years at the Māori Land Court as a lawyer. She has concerns about the proposal.

“I have worked in the Māori Land Court for many years. I know they hold hundreds of years of collective institutional knowledge. I'm disappointed to hear that this section of the law will be cut off.”

Minister of Māori Development Te Ururoa Flavell says this is out of his portfolio.

“Things relating to the Māori Land Court are under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Justice. They make the calls on employment.”