20 Mar 2014

Crown defends leading Maori review

7:48 am on 20 March 2014

The Crown has defended criticism that it was wrong to lead a review into legislation governing the Maori Council and Maori Wardens because they are publicly funded and come under the Minister of Maori Affairs.

Te Puni Kokiri has given evidence in the three-day urgent Waitangi Tribunal hearing on the review of the Maori Community Development Act.

Chief executive Michelle Hippolite said after hearing concerns about the running of the wardens, Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples advised the ministry to engage in a review.

Ms Hippolite told the tribunal that Maori institutions should be free to develop their own reforms but the Crown should have a say when it involves legislation and public money.

She suggested establishing separate Maori Council and Maori Warden reference groups to advise the Crown as the review continues. The hearing at Pipitea Marae in Wellington was to wrap up on Thursday.