28 Feb 2020

Call for Vanuatu land laws to be reformed to protect indigenous owners

3:49 pm on 28 February 2020

A senior lands officer in Vanuatu is calling for land laws to be reformed to protect indigenous owners.

Vanuatu parliament

Vanuatu parliament Photo: RNZ/Sally Round

Alick Karmelu told Buzz FM that loopholes were being exploited by developers.

Current laws allow for the internal affairs minister to approve new developments instead of custom landowers.

Mr Karmelu is calling for a committee to be setup to consider new developments and land leases, among other reforms.

"We need that legislation, the land reform act, to be amended. In other words, not for the minister to sign the lease to give consent or approve development, but the landowners."

Mr Karmelu also wants a tribunal to resolve land disputes.