NZ Maori Council warns Greens Minister that land sales to offshore companies not on

Image: Greens Minister Sage

The New Zealand Maori Council has once again questioned the Minister involved in approving another deal that has seen a foreign owned company being able to purchase 20,000 acres of land to convert into forestry. Matthew Tukaki, Executive Director of Council, said that the move should concern all New Zealanders, not just Maori:

“Minister Eugenie Sage is obviously out of her depth and to be honest I openly question the Green Party making statements about protecting the land while at the same time allow it to be sold off to foreign investors. We are talking about a company potentially buying up farming land, converting it to forestry and thereby losing more opportunities around horticulture and so on. The claim that hundreds of jobs might be created is one the Greens might use as an excuse but in all reality is totally dumbfounding.” Tukaki said

“The two major issue areas that have been identified by the UN into the future will be food and water security so what does this tell us about the Greens and their real approach to sustainability? The second thing I would ask is exactly where is the consultation with Maori on these issues? It seems to me as that the Greens like to talk up a great game when it comes to Maori engagement and so on but really where is it?” Tukaki said

“Maori and many New Zealanders are sick and tired of seeing large tracts of land being sold off and this is not the first time the Ministers fingerprints have been on this sort of thing. The overseas investment office has approved more than $2.3 billion in forestry related sales in the last two years. The Greens can’t have it both ways – either you fight to protect the land or you sell it – you can’t be both.”

Tukaki and the Maori Council have previously stated that there needs to be a fundamental overhaul of the Overseas Investment Office and that includes the process around Ministerial decision making. It also includes more focus on Iwi engagement wherever the land is located:

“Iwi and local Maori should never be excluded from the decision making process.” Tukaki said

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