The Te Ture Whenua Māori (Succession, Dispute Resolution and Related Matters) Amendment Bill (Bill) is currently before the Māori Affairs Select Committee.
The Bill’s key changes include:
- introducing a new dispute resolution process
- simplifying and streamlining succession and trust matters by allowing a Registrar of the Māori Land Court to deal with simple and uncontested trust and succession applications, and
- extending the Māori land Court’s jurisdiction in relation to (among other things) mortgages, easements and covenants, and injunctions.
The Bill also proposes a number of minor and technical amendments to clarify and improve the operation of the Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993.
Chapman Tripp supports the Bill’s policy intent and in particular the extension of the Māori Land Court’s jurisdiction as it is the most appropriate body to address matters relating to Māori freehold land. However, we consider it could be improved in certain areas.
In particular, we have proposed a number of technical changes to the Bill, which include:
- amendments to ensure that the Māori Land Court and the Registrars are able to exercise their proposed new powers to the fullest extent possible
- suggestions to ensure the tikanga provisions in the proposed mediation process are robust, and
- better aligning the Bill’s provisions with adjoining legislation and other instruments – in particular the High Court Rules, the Companies Act and the Trusts Act.