10 Jul 2019

Cooks chiefs' claims on land bill surprise opposition leader

11:39 am on 10 July 2019

Cook Islands' opposition leader Tina Browne says claims made by traditional leaders over the Infrastructure Act are not true and show they do not understand what the bill is about.

Cook Islands Democratic Party leader, Tina Browne

Cook Islands Democratic Party leader, Tina Browne Photo: Cook Islands Democratic Party

The House of Ariki had said the chiefs [ttps://www.rnz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/393556/cook-islands-chiefs-fear-loss-of-mana-in-new-land-law fear the loss of their mana] and claimed the new Act allows government project managers to enter private land without prior notice to investigate possible new infrastructure, alterations or maintenance.

But Ms Browne, who was on the select committee that heard public submissions on the bill, said that is not true and there is nothing stopping traditional leaders from contacting the infrastructure department if they need further consultations.

"For government to take land by warrant has been in existence since 1915. So the infrastructure bill did not introduce that - it has always been in our law. As far as entering people's lands, there has to be some consultation.

"And I do not see the bill giving anyone the right just to walk on people's land without any notice - unless it is an emergency."

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