Waitara Lands Bill Soon in Parliament's Hands

12 September 2016

The New Plymouth District Council (Waitara Lands) Bill 2016 is likely to be introduced to Parliament this week. 

The Council has received confirmation from the Clerk of the House of Representatives that the way is clear for the next step to be taken.

“We have completed the required notification under Parliament’s Standing Orders and now Jonathan Young, Member of Parliament for New Plymouth, can introduce the Waitara Lands Bill to Parliament,” says Chief Executive Barbara McKerrow.

“Mr Young will have some processes to undertake, but we’re hopeful he can introduce the Waitara Lands Bill this week.

“After the years of reports, public submissions and hearings that the Council has done, the process is now out of our hands. It’s up to Parliament now.”

Says Mr Young: “The Waitara Lands Bill seeks to find a way forward for what has been one of the most vexatious issues in New Zealand’s history. It is very pleasing to see communities come together to progress this and I have confidence we will see strong support across Parliament for the Bill.”

The first reading of the Bill is expected to occur shortly after the Bill is introduced, after which it will be referred to a select committee for public submissions. Select committees generally have six months to consider Bills.

Following the select committee are three more Parliamentary stages: the Bill’s second reading, the Committee of the Whole House, and the third reading of the Bill. These stages could take about two months.

Key parts of the Bill include:

  • Leaseholders will receive a right to purchase the freehold title to their property, for the unimproved land value and administrative costs, with no time limit imposed. The freeholding right will continue even if the lease is sold. Leaseholders who do not exercise this right will be able to continue to rent their land. 
  • The funds from the leasehold land – both rents and proceeds from sales – will be put back into the Waitara community. The money will be divided between New Plymouth District Council and Taranaki Regional Council, and both councils have committed to investing the money back into the Waitara community. 
  • Some land in Waitara will be transferred to Te Kotahitanga o Te Atiawa Trust, and the trust will have the right of first refusal on other blocks of Waitara land.