19 Dec 2014

$3.5b potential in Maori freehold land: report

3:50 pm on 19 December 2014

A new report released today estimates that improvements in the performance of Māori freehold land would add billions of dollars to the New Zealand economy.

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy.

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy. Photo: RNZ

The report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) updates and refines estimates around the potential value of Māori freehold land.

Agriculture Minister Nathan Guy said this confirmed the importance of partnering with iwi, Māori asset owners, local communities and industry.

"We know that there's huge potential in Maori agri-business and it's vitally important to lift the output of the regions and a big part in that is lifting the performance of Maori free-hold land. We know in Northland, as an example, is 116,00 hectares of Maori free-hold land.

"MPI's doing a hell of a lot of work with some of the big iwi trusts on the ground up there, making a significant difference," he said.

"This report today from PWC confirms that the size of the prize is worth about $3.5 billion, forestry a part of that about 1.2 billion, so there's a lot of work under way.

"We're working across all of government - it's great to have Minister Flavell with a focus on Maori economic development and that links in nicely with my focus as well."

Mr Guy said there were some barriers to raising productivity on Māori freehold land, but the Government was working with tangata whenua to address those.

"MPI has the sustainable farming fund - a couple of years ago we ran just a programme for iwi and we're seeing significant benefits from that.

"We are also working with some of the larger iwi trusts on the ground in Northland and Bay of Plenty. There are numerous examples where we've lifted the performance just by working closely with them, and industry's a part of that."

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