First Reading of Waitara Lands Bill in Parliament

22 September 2016

Mayor Andrew Judd has welcomed the first reading of the New Plymouth District Council (Waitara Lands) Bill in Parliament yesterday (Wednesday).

The Bill has now been referred to the Māori Affairs Committee.

“It was particularly pleasing to see the Members of Parliament make a strong call for people to make submissions to the select committee,” says the Mayor.

“I encourage people to keep an eye out for when the select committee calls for submissions so they can be involved in this process.”

Mayor Judd described the reading of the Bill as a watershed moment for Waitara and New Plymouth District. “This Bill will help bring together hapu, iwi and the wider Waitara community for the benefit of generations to come,” he says.

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.