A bill that would give control of Ninety Mile Beach in the Far North to iwi has moved a step closer to becoming law.
Parliament sat under extended hours this morning for MPs to consider the Te Hiku Claims Settlement Bill.
The legislation would ratify a long-awaited Treaty settlement between four far North iwi and the Crown.
Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson told the House the bill would see one of the largest returns of land to Maori ownership.
"This omnibus bill represents the culmination of a huge amount of work over many years by some very very dedicated people."
Te Tai Tokerau MP Kelvin Davis assured the House access to Ninety Mile Beach / Te Oneroa a Tohe would not be restricted under the change.
"There's scaremongering that this is a way for iwi to close off the beach, to charge for access. I can assure people there is no way that this is going to happen," the Labour MP said.
Meanwhile, Hawke's Bay Regional Planning Committee Bill also passed its second reading. The bill is designed to create a law to ensure iwi or hapu groups are included in the regional council's planning decisions.
The bills still have to go to a committee stage and third reading.